Release Date: January 5, 2018
Director: Craig Gillespie
Writer: Steven Rogers
Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Bobby Cannavale, Bojana Novakovic, Caitlin Carver, Mckenna Grace, Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser, Joshua Mikel, Catherine Dyer, Evan George Vourazeris, Heather Williams, Renah Gallagher, Fi Dieter, Cara Mantella, Ruby Bustamante, Jason Davis, Ricky Russert, Anthony Reynolds, Lynne Ashe, Cory Chapman, Laura Distin, Robin Dyke, Jamel Chambers, Jason MacDonald, Amy Fox, Raven Wynn, Kelly Frazier, Brian Neal, Barry W Jerald Jr. Miles Mussenden, Kayla Ellenwood
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes
Production Company: Clubhouse Pictures, LuckyChap Entertainment, 30West
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
Like most of the young adults out there, it’s hard to forget the horrific events that occurred during and in between skating competitions between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. Both were fantastic on the ice, but like all contests, there can only be one winner. Having known or not, Harding was thrown into the middle of a storm which ruined her career, and I always wanted to have an account as to why and/or what happened. Now in this biographical drama, director Craig Gillespie (The Finest Hours, Million Dollar Arm) molds together all the interviews from those involved to piece together what really happened.
Margot Robbie being cast as Harding was perfect. Robbie first popped on the screen for me during Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and she hasn’t disappointed me since. This film can be split into two sections coming in the right at two hours, with the first being before the incident, and the 2nd half being afterward. Questions were raised during the real-life event of Kerrigan getting her leg damaged on how anyone could be so cruel, and the film addresses all the concerns and also shines a light on the upbringing that could’ve potentially led to this engagement.
In short, Harding had a very difficult abusive life as a child, and it’s obvious why, if at all she had a chip on her shoulder. Her mother Lavona Golde (Allison Janney) and husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) at the time, really put it in at Harding during the early days, and their roles during the film made you twist your seating position. A large portion of the story is revealed through reenacted interviews by the actors/actresses which really sold the point of how it all went down. There was even a small degree of fourth break (talking to the audience) that spoke volumes, making a particular scene stand out even more.
Robbie’s performance was heartbreaking. I felt sorry for Harding at certain points in the film saying to myself, “it all just isn’t fair.” This is true in life for everyone, but I really feel the film did an exceptional job of flushing out everything Tonya had to go through during her competitive days. The film could bring to light more of the relationship Tonya had with Nancy before and after the incident, but I still feel I got enough information to tie in with the facts to come to my own conclusion for closure.
I felt like I went back in time to both the 80’s and 90’s to live this out. Every iota and element of the production did well in this department, making you feel as if you were there. From the hair, makeup, and soundtrack playing in the background, I recalled the memories from my own past and related to the film. There were glimpses of real footage installed during the conclusion of the film, which highlighted all the news coverage of the times, but even if it wasn’t included, the direction took you back to a place that you wanted to visit to see how it all happened.
While the incident was heartbreaking, the film was not, and had a particular tone that was informative, educational, and yet still entertaining, with light moments, even though it all sounds so depressing. Many lessons can be learned here, and I’m glad I finally got to see some level of illustration of these true events that came out the closet. While this film may not make my top 10 of the year, it certainly will be remembered for all, and it’s great for an extended long amount of time.