I, Tonya is being hailed as Goodfellas on ice and it is very Scorcese-esque; though bordering on plagiaristic. It is peppy, vibrant, and so much fun.
The unreasonably beautiful Margot Robbie stars as the not-so- pretty, rough-and-tumble Tonya Harding, the infamous figure skater. The film is Robbie’s (she produced) and she is darn friggin’ good! Allison Janney is going to win the Oscar for her foul-mouthed turn as Harding’s mother. She is a one-liner machine, but it was easy for her (Laurie Metcalfe was the better, more nuanced “mean mom”). Sebastian Stan is great as the abusive mustachioed goof Jeff Gillooly. Paul Walter Hauser steals every scene he is in as the chubby uber-dummy Shawn Ekhart.
The true story is one of the weirder things to happen in the world of sports. And because it is stranger than fiction, the ESPN 30 for 30 The Price of Gold is probably a superior film. However, the doc doesn’t have joi de vivre of I, Tonya. Much of that is due to the feature film’s unbelievable soundtrack of 60s and 70s songs that play during the majority of the runtime. In a way, that kind wall-to-wall catchy tunes is kind of a cheat, but it’s hard to say that you’d rather go without.
The direction is good, especially for the actual skating scenes; as modern technology is what made the film possible and made Robbie look like she was actually landing triple-axels. There is little-to-no Nancy Kerrigan in the movie. That’s probably a good thing. Even though she is given equal-billing in the mythos, it’s not her story. She’s just a victim. But, so is Tonya. And that’s the point.