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TIFF 2017 Review: “I, Tonya” (2017) ★★★★★


There are three things required to turn any film into a complete masterpiece: love, willingness and hard work. I, Tonya directed by Craig Gillespie and produced by the ridiculously talented Margot Robbie is a film which has Oscar written on it in every line, yet it’s independent, free of manipulative subject matter, and fully concentrated on the infamous part of the history of the Olympic Games of the assault on Nancy Kerrigan, and of course the person who directly or indirectly masterminded it – Tonya Harding. The most absurd, ironic, sympathetic and yet a sad portrayal of Tonya Harding will probably go down the history of cinema as one of the strangest biopics ever made yet entertaining, funny and unforgettable.

I, Tonya follows the title character who starting at the age of three shows unique talent in figure skating. When her mother, Lavona Golden (Allison Janney) notices her daughter loves skating any time she can, she brings her to Diane Rawlinson’s (Julianne Nicholson) class to help her to become one of the best. However, verbal and physical abuse later on when she’s grown up after she ended up in a disastrous relationship with Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) puts an end to the career one of the most promising figure skater who became the first American woman to complete successfully triple Axel in competition. The story you will be seeing in I, Tonya is based on interviews, I personally hope had never occurred in real life…

Remember when someone says, to be born at the wrong place and the wrong time? If not the time, but the place or family Tonya Harding gets would not be supportive enough for her to gain adequate attitude in order to become not only a great athlete, but a role model as well. Tonya, what we see from the film, was not a role model at all, and that is not something you could blame her for. Thanks to mind-blowing performance delivered by Margot Robbie, Tonya Harding appears as a person who deserves respect, dignity and a little bit of understanding. People usually jump to conclusion before having an idea of a background story. Thankfully, I Tonya manages to draw the line between patience and impatience, wisdom and immorality and allows the viewer to witness an absurd part of history that had no chance to be avoided.

In conclusion, I Tonya is a funny and heartbreaking movie to watch at the same time. A stellar cast such as Allison Janney and Julianne Nicholson (what a year this talented woman has had. ‘Novitiate’ can be used as an example), Sebastian Stan and incredible Margot Robbie. Every single person did an amazing job to capture, what could be wrongly assumed, impossible to capture. Their commitment, dedication and thorough analysis of the characters they portrayed turned this movie into an unbelievable fun to watch. At some point you may find yourself speechless, asking yourself how is that even possible… But believe me. The world is big. There are billions of people and only some of them are perfect. It just happened this movie found a golden middle between perfection and imperfection and that’s who Tonya Harding was.

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About Ulkar Alakbarova (1102 Articles)
My name is Ulkar Alakbarova. A wonderful name, is it not? I come from the exotic land of Azerbaijan but now I live in the hub of Hollywood North – Toronto, Canada. How lucky I am to be able to enjoy and indulge in my favourite avocation of watching movies. Movies of every genre are screened here in Toronto. There are black and white classics, avant garde, independently produced, and of course, newly released movies for all to enjoy. Let me share this treasure of entertainment with you. Read my thoughts and opinions then let me know if you agree.

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