Greenwich International Film Festival was thrilled to premiere I, Tonya, the intriguing, dark comedy that tells the true story of former American figure skater, Tonya Harding.
Harding, played by award winning actress Margot Robbie, earned her infamy in 1994 when news broke that she was involved in one of the most famous sports scandals in modern history. Not only does this film give extensive details into the attack, it also captures the surprising aftermath of the senseless assault and the downfall of a once-admirable Olympic contender.
To many of us, it is likely that the phrase “triple-axel’ does not mean anything, however in the skating industry during the 90’s it referred to one of the most technically difficult jumps. Harding became the first, of now eight female skaters, to have successfully landed this in competitions. Perhaps now, Harding’s roll in the Nancy Kerrigan attack has since overshadowed her greatest skating achievements.
Harding began skating when she was just three years old. With the help of her boundary-pushing, foul-mouthed, manipulative mother—played by Alison Janney—she eventually dropped out of high school to pursue her dreams of becoming an Olympic figure skater. Janney’s representation of Harding’s abusive, ‘momager’ was nothing short of sensational. Despite the cruelty that she embodied, it was hard not to find her absurd mannerisms comedic in some sense.
In January of 1994, Harding’s main competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, was bashed in the knee, leaving her unable to compete in the U.S Figure Skating Championship. Amidst the chaos stemming from the scandal, Harding’s involvement began to publicly surface, causing a media frenzy. Through documentary style interviews, director, Craig Gillespie, perfectly captures the despairing, covetous, ill-spirited nature of Harding’s ex-husband and his ignorant accomplices.
I thought I, Tonya was an exceptional film. We finally get a chance to see Harding’s side of her unfortunate story and better understand what might have led her to make the choices that she did. Gillespie’s brilliant work makes it hard to not sympathize with the once disgraced Olympic athlete that we all love to hate.
I, Tonya is receiving tremendous Oscar buzz for Robbie’s brilliant portrayal of the unfiltered, outspoken Tonya Harding. With an all around exceptional cast— including Sebastian Stan, Caitlin Carver, and Paul Walter Hauser— I would give this film 5 stars. You do not want to miss one of the greatest sports rivalries reach its breaking point on the big screen on December 8th!