With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 89, the story of Tonya Harding’s rise to fame and infamy is captivating the hearts of movie fans around the world. Written and filmed as a dark comedy, a cross between Deadpool and Suicide Squad with a touch of Pacific Northwest white trash, the story depicts Tonya’s childhood abuse and rough upbringing to shed light into her motivation to become the first female skater to land a triple axle jump in competition and hopefully Olympic ice.
Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad) does an impressive job of transforming into the fallen rising star, especially during the scenes in which Tonya is assaulted verbally and physically by her husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan, Winter Soldier) and her mother LaVona Golden (played by Allison Janney, of Mom and West Wing acclaim). The emotions are raw with poignant fourth wall breaks that are excellently timed to make you laugh and cringe at the circumstances, almost simultaneously. Tonya’s life was a shit show, and you feel her pain as her talent wasn’t enough to outshine her circumstances. The skating community couldn’t stomack her commoness and used every opportunity to make her career stall and fizzle.
Where other people would have become addicts or threats to society, she managed to come back from Olympic failure and embarrassment to a forced to be reckoned with in the 1994 National Figure Skating Championship and try outs. The screenplay addresses the real life interviews and unbelievable narrative of events that surrounded the Nancy Kerrigan knee cap attack dubbed “The Incident”. Joey, Tonya’s ex at the time enlisted the help of his friend Shawn to help his wife secure a spot in the US Olympic team competing in Lillehammer in the 1994 Winter Olympics. The plot turns out to cost Tonya her career and livelihood banning her from the ice skating professional associations and performances. Destitute and without an education, she resorts to boxing and other publicity stunts to keep the cash flowing and reinvent herself as a mom and wife.
Allison Janney won a Golden Globe and Oscar for her portrayal as LaVona, and the movie is getting great buzz. Watch in select theaters until most likely Feb 2017. Look for it online and on physical media soon there after.