Friday, January 5, 2018

Movie Review: I, Tonya

Lets take it all the way back to the Winter of 1994... the Producer from Brothascomics was in his last semester of undergrad, student teaching at a middle school full of racist children, and deep in a vow of celibacy that I will explain on a different podcast.

But alas, this was also the time of the Lillihammer Winter Olympics and I assure you, much like today, I am sure I didn't give a damn about it.  Except in 1994, an incident happened that captured the imagination of the entire world( well at least the United States).  In this time before the Olympics, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan had been attacked about 6 weeks before the games and it was speculated that her rival skater, Tonya Harding, was behind the attack.

This is the background of the movie, I, Tonya, starring Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding. I say this is the background because this movie really deals with all the shit that Harding grew up with before that fateful incident in 1994.  Harding grew up poor with a dad who left and a mother who was the absolute worse.  Verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive, her mom made her into a champion but hated her all the way doing it.  Tonya's rough upbringing, even tho she is a quality figure skater, does not make her embraced in the tempermental world of figure skating and this reflects in her scores and lack of admiration from those around figure skating.

As Tonya grows up, she meets a man named Jeff Gilooly, played by Sebastian Stan,  a local town man who really does not have much going for himself.  He works, hangs out with his best friend, Shawn Eckhart,  a man who is full on delusional about his self importance.  Jeff also continues the cycle of abuse with Tonya as their off and on relationship is volatile and physically abusive. 

In one of those good periods, Tonya has really reached her peak as a figure skater.  She becomes he first American woman to hit the triple axl and is now recognized as one of the best figure skaters in the world.  As the 1994 Olympics are coming, Gilooly and his band of idiots want to make sure Tonya wins and they concoct a plan to take out Kerrigan- who is considered her major competition to making the US Olympic team.

What started out as just some death threat  letters turns in the assault on Kerrigan and the 24 hour news cycle that led into it.  Really, 1994 is Ground Zero for the combination of celebrity and crime/events merging together to give us the version of the "news" we have today with much of it being speculation and hype over substance.

Not to spoil but Tonya's Olypmic dream does not work out- like at all and she suffers major consequences for her role in this sorrid affair.  To be honest, I was more interested in what happened to Tonya Harding AFTER all this went away.  How does a person who trained for one event their entire life have all that stripped away and become ridiculed by America- how does one person survive that?

Overall, this movie is excellent.  Margot Robbie plays this role well and really gives some depth and emotion to Tonya Harding.  Sebastian Stan also does a great job playing her husband and provides depth of character that I was not expecting.

Great movie!  It definitely deserves all the Golden Globe nominations it received!

The Producer