I, Tonya

I, Tonya ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

"and that is the fuckin truth"

i, tonya jumps to the top of the 2017 releases as a ruthlessly chaotic and darkly comedic joyride with a sharp empathetic edge. margot robbie is cast perfectly as the spunky, frenzied, and tough-as-nails tonya harding, in a portayal both inherently likeable and surprisingly sympathetic. although it's most obviously classed as a pitch-dark comedy, the stunning performance by robbie drives the film to often be intensely emotional. under the thumb of unending abuse, tonya yearns for an escape where she can be touted as anything but worthless- and when she finds her one solace and passion, we see it brutally ripped away from her.

most importantly, it's all portrayed through the eyes of the characters that inhabit it. as tonya points out- maybe we aren't quite watching what "really happened", rather a cobbled together tale spun from the witness testimonies that narrate the film through talking-head style interviews. in a particularly captivating and clever stylistic choice, tonya will periodically break character during narrative scenes to look into the camera knowingly and make a coy or self-aware comment. this cements the viewer in our relationship to the story- we aren't observing the unaltered past, we're seeing it reenacted through the words of those who told it. this imbues the story with life- layers of comedy, empathy, and heart that would otherwise stay inaccessible. at the center of it all is robbie- playing our magnificently flawed, passionate, and complex protagonist. i tonya is a biopic done right- fresh, riveting, and a hell of a good time.

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