Movie Review: I, Tonya

Eric Valenti

Staff Writer

A few weeks ago I saw the critically acclaimed sport drama, “I, Tonya.” I had been watching the trailers for the movie for weeks and wanting to watch and understand the story of the complicated Tonya Harding.

If you don’t already know, Tonya Harding was one of the best American ice skaters of all time. She broke barriers by being the first american woman to land a triple axel, an incredibly difficult skating move. However, her skilled skating was overshadowed by her involvement in a scandal where she was accused of hiring a man to hit a fellow ice skater, Nancy Kerrigan, in the knee a few days before the Olympics.

The film opens with a young Tonya and her mother, Lavona Harding (Allison Janney), who is trying to get Tonya on the ice at the age of four. Lavona is a bit of a rough character, she does what she wants, she’s bossy as well as extremely abusive towards Tonya. Tonya makes her life all about skating, even dropping out of high school just to pursue her dream of skating in the Olympics. Tonya gets married to Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), where Tonya continues her life of abuse. Through a series of events, Jeff’s words get misconstrued and Tonya’s bodyguard plans an attack on Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) which comes to fruition.

I already knew a bit about her, but the trailers inspired me to  research the whole scandal, and I knew that the film would offer something new. The movie made you feel like you had a deep connection for Tonya.

The movie is an emotional rollercoaster as you try to figure out whether or not Tonya is guilty of the charges against her. I was always thinking “She obviously did it,” or “How could she have done it, she was too focused on the Olympics.”  Tonya’s life before the incident was just a cesspool of abuse, when she landed the triple axel she was on top, everyone loved her and she had made history. When the incident happened she went back to the abuse, not only from her family but the whole world. Her historic move, her courage and her talent was repaid with her being banned from the U.S. figure skating association, which meant that she could never skate competitively again.

After the film, I felt this gnawing hole in myself. How do you deal with the fact that you can even try for your dreams and then someone just tells you: “You’ve failed, and you can’t try again.”

If you’re looking for a film that will mess with all of your emotions and take you on a ride of beauty and violence, making you question your destiny as well as your morals, I, Tonya is a must see! Also, the soundtrack is an 80’s filled masterpiece. Overall, the film is one of truest and most honest film about the real world and the competition and hardships that life hands us.. I, Tonya has brought something new to the movies: something real.


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