By Triple Axel or Crowbar, ‘I, Tonya’ Is One of the Best Films of the Year

I, Tonya is the best film you will see in 2017, a new age docudrama that reveals the truth by taking you down an unbelievable rabbit hole of truths. It’s a rockstar film and Margot Robbie gives an unbelievable performance – she is sure to be nominated for that golden statue, if not win. At this point I feel the only person that could knock her out would be Streep – cuz who beats Streep?

Margot Robbie plays the unstoppable Tonya Harding in her road to stardom and her inevitable fall from…well not so grace. We all remember the incident, and the movie regards it as such. It’s one of those stories you will never forget but because of modern media everyone remembers it differently. I remember that Tonya Harding was the Olympic skater who had her boyfriend bash in Nancy Kerrigan’s knees because she was her greatest competition for the gold. I was enthralled with the story – the drama, the gutter instinct of it all! And this movie makes us question what we thought we knew about Tonya and what led to that unspeakable act in the best possible way.

I, Tonya is executed with superb storytelling. Director Craig Gillespie and Writer Steven Rogers were able to do justice to each person’s viewpoint leaving you with not exactly the truth, but the information necessary to understand the situation in a light you never would have thought. It’s almost like the creators set out to make a real documentary and as they began to hear each person’s side of the story, it was undoubtedly apparent the plot needed to be played out right in front of our eyes. The film did this with such precision, because looking back at everything that really happened, you can’t believe how it transpired.

The film is done in the classic interview style; we see Harding, her mother LaVona Golden played by Allison Janney, and the infamous boyfriend Jeff Gillooly played by Sebastian Stan talking to the camera. At the same time we are also taken through each moment of Harding’s life from childhood to prime Olympic state. And in these moments we are given asides straight to the camera, very House of Cards style lending more insight on each person’s perception of the situation – how they remember it.

First off… Frickin’ Bucky Barnes – Sebastian Stan can have all the accolades from my point of view – not only does he do a great job of being a helpless asshole but – how did he lose the Winter Soldier body?? I never had a chance to think twice about Jeff Gillooly, he did a bad thing out of love end of story. At one point I realized – I was watching the Pain and Gain story of Tonya Harding. You’re thinking to yourself in the theater, I can’t believe the amount of idiocy that resulted in the ruin of people’s lives and careers. Bucky… mission report.

I will tell you this right now, Allison Janney can do no wrong! She can play the coldest black hearted woman, and I will love every single minute, word, and physical gesture that woman makes. She has impeccable talent and watching her play the mother who hates to love her child, treating her like garbage because she believes it makes her better, was phenomenal. Not the bad parenting – but the portrayal of bad parenting- I give her a 10! A 10!

Margot Robbie is badass in this film, I never understood how straight up and tough Tonya Harding was. Robbie threw herself into this one, her aesthetic, her fervor, her desperation and rage as well as her overwhelming sense of inevitable loss, were at the forefront at all times. I was not surprised at her performance, we all know Robbie has this in her – I was over the moon to watch it flourish in this role. Get ’em girl.

In the end, the story was really about the truth, not even the correct truth, simply allowing the people involved to speak their truths and a chance to say what happened in their own words. That incident happening at the rise of modern media, led to rumors and bullshit making the truth, just not relevant at the time. The only thing that mattered was the sensational story. This film let us truly see and decide for ourselves how to make sense of it all.

I left the theater feeling like, damn that’s the blackest whitest story I’ve ever heard. Tonya Harding was given nothing, told she was nothing, was not allowed to amount to anything – then became the best figure skater of her time. The first to land a triple axel and her life circumstances kept her from greatness…damn. Even though it was a hilarious ride and the idiotic decisions were made that inevitably led to destruction, it was about class and the situations you were born into. How your circumstance influences the company you decide to keep, and the struggle of trying to be your greatest in a space where you were never meant to “belong” in the first place.

This film is accomplished with out of this world performances, expert storytelling, and enlightening tidings that will change your perspective forever.

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  • Aisha Jordan bio: Actor, Writer, Arts Administrator. I am a movie nerd. Born and raised, action and adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, cartoon enthusiast, and aficionado. Raised by a Trekkie mom in a world of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings. Foundation in social justice theater and playing in the nerd and entertainment world.

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