Craig Gillespie is a “hit or miss” filmmaker. He bombed with his directorial debut “Mr. Woodcock” but then received acclaim for his follow-up, “Lars and the Real Girl”. I was bored out of my mind by “The Finest Hours”, but his 2011 remake of “Fright Night” is a whole lot of fun. This brings us to his Tonya Harding biopic, “I, Tonya”, a sports-drama that plays more like a dark-comedy.
I was never one for watching the Olympics or figure skating for that matter. However, it was hard to not know who Tonya Harding was after the infamous incident involving Nancy Kerrigan’s knee-caps. I didn’t remember the whole story, but I did remember it being on the news all the time back then. “I, Tonya” is told in the form of flashbacks where we see Tonya (Margo Robbie), her ex-husband Jeff (Sebastian Stan), his friend Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser), Tonya’s mother LaVona (Allison Janney) and reporter Martin Maddox (Bobby Cannavale) being interviewed. Through the interviews we are taken through Tonya’s life and the events that lead up to “the incident” and how her life was ruined by it. I don’t want to say to much about how things played out because if you are like me, you may have forgotten most of the story.
Robbie is fantastic here as Tonya, but it’s Janney whole steals the film as her hellish mother LaVon. Because the Karrigan incident was so bonkers, I must admit that I wasn’t surprised one bit about just how stupid everyone in Tonya’s life was, with the-exception-of her mother who was just plain rotten. Aside from the performances, there just isn’t any else special about “I, Tonya”. It is easily forgettable and though it’s based on true events, I found myself having trouble buying much of what was going on. If you like the cast, they deliver, but I would say this is something you can watch at home when it’s available for streaming.
By: Marc Ferman