ENTERTAINMENT
23/02/2018 07:27 GMT | Updated 23/02/2018 09:11 GMT

'I, Tonya' Leaves You With More Questions Than Answers, And Is All The Better For It - HuffPost Verdict

It's easy to see why Margot Robbie did not believe the film’s plot was a true story.

Clubhouse Pictures/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

K E Y   P O I N T S

  • Margot Robbie stars as figure-skater Tonya Harding and Allison Janney plays her mother, LaVona Golden 
  • Sebastian Stan plays Tonya’s husband, Jeff Gilloly, Caitlin Carver is Nancy Kerrigan and Paul Walter Houser is Shawn Eckhardt, the boyguard who ordered the “hit” on Nancy
  • The film’s story - based on the real-life events in the run-up to the 1994 Winter Olympics - is told in a documentary-style, via “interviews” set in the present day 
  • Its timeline spans the decades that led up to the games, starting with Tonya’s first ice-skating lesson at the age of 4
  • Both Margot and Allison have received numerous award nominations, with the latter winning the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe, Baftas and SAG Award.

S N A P   V E R D I C T

When you leave the cinema after seeing ‘I, Tonya’, it’s easy to see why, at first, Margot Robbie did not believe the film’s plot was a true story. 

Based on the life of Tonya Harding, the film tells the tale of a figure-skater, vilified by the media but protesting her innocence, years after a hitman’s attack on her rival, Nancy Kerrigan.

If you are one of the cinema-goers who doesn’t know the story then prepare to leave with more questions than answers. Rather than join the dots, ‘I, Tonya’ presents a case wide open - Was Tonya innocent? How much did Jeff know? - and its all the better for it. Much like the Tonya it centres on, ‘I, Tonya’ has no hidden pretences: This isn’t a presentation of certified facts, but a reminder that there are always versions of the truth.

With clever prosthetics and make-up, Margot and Allison convincingly play their characters through the years, with Margot seamlessly going from a lovestruck teenage skater to a middle-aged, former celebrity reflecting on her ill-fated time in the spotlight. 

Meanwhile, Allison thrives as the unforgiving, abusive and acid-tongued LaVona, threatening to steal every scene she’s featured in and consistently delivering the best lines. 

Like two other films - ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ - its up against at the Oscars, ‘I, Tonya’ is, among other things, also about a mother-daughter relationship. This time, though, it’s an unflinching account of abuse and callousness, with Tonya craving approval and her mother refusing to deliver it. 

Of course, with all praise comes criticism and some have pointed out that Kerrigan - the actual victim of the piece - barely gets a mention. The film’s title provides the perfect rebuttal to this - it is ‘I, Tonya’, after all. 

B E S T   L I N E S

Tonya Harding: 

America. They want someone to love, but they want someone to hate."

Shawn Eckhardt’s attempt to evade the FBI: 

I don't know a Tony Harding."

S T A N D O U T   S T A R

Clubhouse Pictures/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

The scene-stealing Allison Janney. Read our exclusive interview with her here. 

‘I, Tonya’ is out in UK cinemas now.