I, Tonya

I, Tonya ★★★½

I, Tonya doesn't always stick the landing. The tonal inconsistencies are hard to overlook: it shifts from comedy to sports drama to harrowing depiction of cyclical abuse fast enough to give you whiplash. I can understand why people hate this film, as it appears to make light of the protagonist's difficult life by undercutting it with dry humor. I can confidently say I didn't hate it, and while I didn't love it either, I lean towards enjoyment for one reason: the central performance.

Margot Robbie is a superstar. She plays a brash, loud, self-assertive, occasionally aggressive and divisive cultural figure with heart and vulnerability. I knew next to nothing about Tonya Harding's life, just some details about "the incident", but Robbie made me empathize and even root for Harding. I felt every blow she received from her mother first and her husband later, I felt her joy the first time she landed the triple axel, I felt her anger and sadness and her desperate need to be loved. She elevates the material, and while she is aided by solid supporting work, the film's best moments focus on her and her alone. It's a pity that the competition this award season is so tough, because any other year she would've walked away with the Oscar, but there's no doubt in my mind that she'll get several more chances in the future.

I was initially going to rate this 3.5 stars, but then I heard Fleetwood Mac's The Chain. The day I can remain objective while Fleetwood Mac plays in the background is the day I die.

Edit (28/12, 4:47 am) I just thought about the laughably bad CGI during the skating sequences and it's back to 3.5. It was terrifying and hilarious and so, so bad

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