Friday, January 26, 2018

I, TONYA (2017)

Directed By: Craig Gillespie 
 Written By: Steven Rogers 
Cinematography By: Nikolas Karakatsanis 
Editor: Tatiana S. Riegel 

Cast: Margot Robie, Sebastian Stan, Alison Janney, Paul Walter Hauser, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Canavale, Bojana Novakovic, McKenna Grace 

Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.

If you look closely you will see the inspiration from TO DIE FOR. Treating the film as a documentary and letting the talking heads out the story together from their points of view. Even including ice skating and fame as a motif. Both are based on true stories only TO DIE FOR was more loosely based. This film is more set in a specific case and also TO DIE FOR even for all itMs differing points of view it painted the subject and her actions as more concrete and was telling the story. Not as a who you believe but filling In moments and stories to tell the tale and reveal what you need to know that other characters didn’t know. So you the audience has the overall overview.

It feels like some of the best scenes might have been given away in the trailer, but that is understandable to get the audience that the film deserves.

The script is top notch and might be more of interest to those who remember this scandal. Like myself who are already the built in audience. Especially if you are willing to have an open mind and haven’t made up your mind on the characters.

This film really dissects the characters lives that lead up to the incident and the actual incident. It has unreliable narrators and scenes of differing recalling of events. No one comes out clean including the supposed investigative reporters.

This is truly a dark comedy. That even comments on itself and how the stories are coming along. It’s a story of survival that carries a blue collar stamp of approval and a melancholy that constantly hangs over it. It’s a movie that has you laughing but also makes you feel something.

Margot Robbie amazes Again in a role that seems tailor made for her though you wouldn’t suspect it at first. You truly do feel sorry for her but admire Tonya’s spirit to keep going no matter what the odds. She truly does convey the character and gives her a dignity and sympathy. She truly throws herself into the role even learning to ice skate and figure skate for the role. That the film truly revolves around her performance thankfully the film rises to her level. Though even amongst the great cast she is truly noteworthy and something to write home about.

Alison Janney as usual steals any scene she is in. As Tonya’s table no crap mother. Not to take anything away from her or her performance, but I am surprised by the accolades. As she seems one of those consummate actresses who you expect to hit it out of the park constantly. As she is always good in whatever role. This one reminded me of a more mean spirited less supportive version of a character she played in DROP DEAD GORGEOUS.

Though Paul Walter Hauser steals the movie as Shawn Eckhardt a character who seems like comedic gold and sadly is a real character. Not one of the best films I have seen all year but more than satisfying.

As this is a film that takes you by surprise no matter what you already know or are expecting. If not by the filmmaking then by the events in the story.

Even the moving camerawork in the ice skating scenes that make them riveting and especially in the scene where she is leaving Jeff’s character and on the way out . We see him at different stages of their relationship in each room. Before finally leaving and zooming away. It makes the film come more alive and not just a by the numbers dark comedy. It shows off the filmmakers style and design but also makes the tale feel like a real organism that is traveling and has a life all it’s own

Though through all the humor and laughs. The film does make you feel something. Especially the pains of the characters.

The film for it’s sad ending also shows the spirit of survival and leaves an inspiration that can come if you don’t let tragedy or what others think of you keep you down. Keep your eyes on the prize and you don’t have to be perfect to persevere.

The film does have strong writing straight from the participants mouths. Which of course are wildly on different sides but gives you a tale where you can see all different points of view. That leaves you feeling full and like you have a kind of overview. It is up to you what you believe or not.

Grade: B+

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