Biography Drama

'I, Tonya' TIFF 2017 Review: Biopic sheds new light on an infamous figure

September 16, 2017Britany Murphy

What most of us know about former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding is that she was somehow involved in an incident which left rival Nancy Kerrigan with a broken leg. What we don’t know, however, is what Harding's life was like leading up to that infamous attack.

Director Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya sets out to rectify that gap in the public consciousness, beginning in the form of re-enacted interviews with a variety of characters from Harding’s personal life, including her mother, LaVona Golden (Allison Janney), her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), and Harding herself (Margot Robbie). Following that, the movie launches viewers into the story of Harding’s formative years, and proceeds to show us how her life as a figure skater came to be — all of which is perfectly set up to dovetail into "the incident."

The result certainly manages to make audiences laugh, but the film’s true power comes from the fact that, for once, you feel empathy towards Harding — something most of us probably never imagined possible. Brilliantly acted by a stellar cast that also includes Mckenna Grace as a young Tonya, I, Tonya is a definite must-see.

I, Tonya is receiving its world premiere as part of TIFF 2017's Special Presentations programme. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 1 min.

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