I, Tonya tells the true story of Tonya Harding, in a faux documentary manner. This is a very entertaining biopic and has plenty of laughs throughout its runtime, but also has great emotional stakes. My most lavish praise has to go out to the costume design for this film. The costumes that Margot Robbie’s Harding wears are simply stunning. You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into the look and feel of the film because everything from the costumes to the hairstyles is so reminiscent of the early 90’s. This makes it very accurate and believable. This believability caries over into the storytelling, as the film tries to be as accurate to the events as possible. This is shown at the start of the film when they say they’re using multiple interviews to try and put together a timeline. Furthermore, the use of fourth wall breaking adds both a sense of intimacy, as well as helping to highlight certain facts. The performances are outstanding with Robbie, in particular, a standout. Robbie manages to convey what can only be described as the troubled life of Tonya Harding with such believability, that you lose yourself entirely in her performance. Robbie is the heart and soul of the film and is consistently likeable throughout. The film itself makes not rooting for Tonya damn near impossible, and this is due to Robbie’s performance showing you the person behind the media image. Also, Sebastian Stan’s performance as Jeff Gillooly is captivating and brilliant. The fits of anger that plague Jeff’s character, are so well acted by Stan that his presence on screen is both unpredictable and genuinely quite scary. The menacing delivery that Stan employs for some of his lines really does help to elevate Jeff’s threat level. Additionally, Allison Janney’s performance as LaVona Fay, (Harding’s mother), is outstandingly cold and malicious. With her character serving as a kind of antagonist throughout the film. Janney’s performance helps to raise LaVona from a simple two-dimensional abusive mother into something much more. As we see that LaVona thinks that what she is doing is right and actually helping her daughter, making her character in a way an interesting comment on parenting. The direction from Craig Gillespie is remarkable, with not a single scene or character wasted, and with the whole feature feeling like a cohesive whole rather than just a rush to later events. The score for this film may be my favourite so far this year, so accurately capturing small-town America at least in my opinion. The final thing I want to touch on is the choreography of the skating scenes, which is just fantastic, with the cinematography lending itself so beautifully, with each camera shot; having something to say.
An amazing film, and a baffling true story this is definitely worth a watch. A real powerhouse of a film, on every level.
Reviewed by Luke

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