A biopic about an ice skater from the 90s. That maybe no one has heard of. What’s the draw?
Well, I, Tonya has a few. Not least the accomplished leading performance from superstar Margot Robbie but in tandem the Oscar-winning supporting turn from Allison Janney, who is terrifyingly superb as Tonya’s beastly mother (think Cruella de Vil but nastily more real). A strong ensemble cast, including a comedic yet violently frightening portrayal by Sebastian Stan as Tonya’s appalling husband, Jeff, and, well, just a heartily comedic showing from Paul Walter Hauser as the delusional still-lives-with-his-mum-and-always-useless Shawn. Chuck in the ever-dependable Bobby Cannavale and you’ve got quite a crew.
At the helm of this rousing crew is a little known and un-prolific director, Craig Gillespie. An Australian commercial director with a couple of Disney backed films under his belt. He well and truly puts himself on the Hollywood map here with I, Tonya as it’s surprisingly good from the get-go. Funny, gripping, tragic and hopeless, Robbie leads the way as the child prodigy skating champion, forced by her dragon of a mother to train until she wets herself and push to be the best. At all costs.
More clever, tragic and funny, all at the same time, than one might imagine from a biopic about ice skating, I, Tonya is a little and surprising cracker of a film.