Chicago Film Festival: I, Tonya

I, Tonya. Courtesy of Neon.

The Tonya Harding biopic, I, Tonya, could bring Allison Janney an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the figure skater’s abusive mother.

Directed by Craig Gillespie from a screenplay by Steven Rogers, the biopic stars Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Paul Walter Hauser, Julianne Nicholson, Caitlin Carver, Bojana Novakovic and Bobby Cannavale.

Interspersed with documentary-style footage, the film gives off a humorous vibe as we revisit one of the biggest events in figure skating history.  Robbie and Janney deliver some of the strongest performances of 2017 in their roles as Tonya Harding and her mother, Lavona Harding.  Janney could very easily add an Oscar to her shelves in one of the best performances this year.

Aside from some brief flashbacks of Harding and Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) rooming together, there’s less focus of the rivalry between the two.  While following Harding’s upbringing and early skating career, we get the details of her relationship with her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and how he helped plot the whole attack on Kerrigan.

Unlike the recently released, Marshall, Harding is front and center in the film.  She’s not made off as a supporting player in the ensemble.  The interview style footage makes for a fresh take on the biopic genre.

Neon will release I, Tonya in theaters starting on December 8, 2017.  The film screens tonight at the Chicago International Film Festival as a special presentation.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

One thought on “Chicago Film Festival: I, Tonya

  1. Don’t get me wrong, I love both Robbie and Janney, but their roles are more “showy” (Janney has prosthetic age makeup/pet parrot, Robbie has a courtroom soliloquy MADE for Oscar), but in my eyes the MVP of this film is Sebastian Stan. He could have made this character a parody; an evil, abusive brute. Instead, he navigates that line so subtly and deftly it’s breathtaking. He evokes Eric Roberts in Star 80, but somehow manages to be even better.

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