I, Tonya

Film Review by Kam Williams

Revisionist Biopic Recasts Disgraced Olympic Skater as Sympathetic Figure

On January 6, 1994, while waiting to compete in the U.S. Figure Skating Championship competition, top-ranked Nancy Kerrigan’s (Caitlin Carver) knee was smashed by a billy club-wielding hit man named Shane Stant (Ricky Russert). After the cowardly attack in the halls of Detroit’s Cobo arena, the assailant quickly escaped with the help of a waiting getaway car driven by Derrick Smith (Anthony Reynolds).

The two had been hired by Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walter Hauser) and Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), Tonya Harding’s (Margot Robbie) bodyguard and ex-husband, respectively. At the time, Tonya was vying with Kerrigan for a coveted spot on the U.S. Olympic team slated to compete in Norway the following month.

The injury prevent Kerrigan from skating at the trials, but the U.S. Olympic committee opted to award her one of the two slots, anyway. The other went to Harding who feigned having no knowledge of the attempt to break her main rival’s leg

However, the truth ultimately came out once all of the other participants in the conspiracy were arrested and brought to justice. For, the evidence found in the perpetrator’s possession included Kerrigan’s skating schedule and locations written in Tonya’s handwriting.

Furthermore, Eckhardt testified that Harding had not only orchestrated the brutal assault but had impatiently asked why it was taking them so long to get it over with. in the end, she did plead guilty to conspiracy, but was spared a jail sentence on the condition she paid a $160,000 fine, did 500 hours of community service, and promised to never skate competitively again.

Unfortunately, Hollywood has a long history of turning ruthless, real-life criminals into compassionate characters, including Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow (Bonnie & Clyde), Frank Abagnale (Catch Me if You Can) and Robert Stroud (Birdman of Alcatraz), to name a few. Courtesy of I, Tonya, Harding becomes just the latest in a long line of celluloid villains to receive such sympathetic treatment.

According to this ridiculous, revisionist biopic, she was blissfully unaware of any plan to harm Kerrigan. In fact, if anything, she was the victim here, having been born on the wrong side of the tracks and been raised by an abusive stage mom (Allison Janney) who forced her onto the ice and into the limelight against her will.

I suppose a quarter-century is long enough for some to forgive and forget the misdeeds of such a reprehensible creep. Sorry folks, but you’re going to have to look elsewhere to find a gullible critic willing to recommend this garbage, a total whitewash of Tonya’s checkered past, simply because the film does happen to feature a few great performances.

Not just a fake biopic, a totally fake biopic!

Poor (0 stars)

Rated R for violence, pervasive profanity, and some sexuality and nudity

Running time: 120 minutes

Production Studios: LuckyChap Entertainment / Clubhouse Pictures / AI Film

Distributor: Neon

To see a trailer for I, Tonya, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2iy5y0YjGM

 

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