Most people when they hear the name Tonya Harding immediately have images of Nancy Kerrigan holding her knee and crying out “Why?” over and over again come to their minds. They may even think of Harding herself crying to a panel of judges about the state of the laces on her skates during Olympic competition. Her name and image became a point of ridicule and shame. She became the butt of jokes throughout the 90s and a never-ending punchline. People were not sympathetic to her and were not willing to hear her story. She was condemned to being the monster that we convinced ourselves that she was. The film I, Tonya sheds light onto who this woman was in demonstrating the complexities of her upbringing, years of abuse at the hands of her mother and later her husband. Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad, Wolf of Wall Street) stars as Tonya Harding, the disgraced Olympic figure skater.
I Tonya, takes audiences deep into the world that Tonya Harding experiences. We see the heartache, we bear witness to the brutal violence and abuse she suffers. Audiences find themselves rooting for Tonya to break out and become a success. The film, based on interviews, court testimony, and sports and news footage allows us all to have a greater picture of exactly who Tonya was. It points out in a mixture of humor, terror, and realism what the public got wrong about her and how we all became her worst abusers. The public wanted her to not only fail, but to fail miserably as most had fallen in love with her competitor and the victim of an attack committed in Tonya’s name. I Tonya, through brutal honesty shows us how someone who is already flawed due to their appearance, presentation, or lack of polish can quickly become villainized because they do not fit our description of innocent or are seen as someone we want representing us. The true reality of I, Tonya is that the film is a reflection in the mirror. It is one of the most honest representations of what the human, and more specifically, the American experience is. You have successes and failures, but despite this, we are recognized for the worst actions that are linked to our names and images.
I, Tonya takes the best elements of Mommy Dearest, Blades of Glory, Black Swan, and Sleeping With The Enemy in order to create a sports biopic that audiences will not realize they needed until they find themselves walking out of the theater. Margot Robbie, Allison Janney (Mom, The Help, Juno), and Sebastian Stan (Captain America: Civil War) will have audiences angered, elated, and heartbroken as they take audiences on a full tour of their emotions. I, Tonya is an instant classic that will capture audiences with its storytelling and demonstrate that Tonya Harding’s life is much more than a one-liner.