Sunday, February 11, 2018


The two best things about I, TONYA, to my mind, are that it got made and that it mostly works as a movie, despite the fact it's an unreliable story based on events leading up to a tawdry "incident" that ended in disappointment if not delusion. And is somewhat miscast. Margot Robbie deserves the praise she is getting for the title role, because she does an amazing job (along with the director and writer) of making the audience empathize with an unsympathetic character.

But to really get the essence of what Tonya Harding was overcoming, besides class and economic and cultural challenges, someone like Amy Schumer would have been better suited to playing the role. Robbie can't hide the charisma of her beauty and screen presence no matter how hard she tries. And yes Allison Janney also does a great job playing Harding's abusive mother, but Sebastian Stan is also miscast as Harding's boyfriend and husband.

The scenes where he and Robbie are supposed to be high school age, Robbie pulls off with sheer commitment to a physicality that captures the teenage paradox of cocky self-consciousness, whereas Stan just comes off, or did to me, as an older man not even pretending very hard to be a kid or young man. The real scene stealer is Paul Walter Hauser as the lamest of the conspirators.

Despite all my objections (which include to the many incongruities in the story and even some of the shots), the movie still engaged and entertained and even surprised me. A tribute, I think, to director Craig Gillespie and his team.    

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