By: Tyler Grahame
As a child, I loved watching the winter Olympics. The ice skating competitions were so memorable and graceful. I’ve always been fascinated by the olympian’s levels of expertise and their passion for the sport. Therefore, I was ecstatic when “I, Tonya” came out, as it was not only about ice skating but also remains the most controversial issue in skating history.
Tonya Harding was once a beloved American ice skater until she met her career’s demise after being associated with the attack on her competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. Before viewing the Oscar nominated film, so many people have expressed their discontent for Harding and her actions; however, I pitied her and felt sympathetic towards her after discovering her rough upbringing and how it contributed to her competitive spirit and ultimately, the termination of her career.
The film follows her life story — from her first skating lesson — to her court trial where she was officially banned from the U.S. Figure Skating Association. Throughout the film, it weaves together pieces of the real interviews that discuss the Nancy Kerrigan incident, portrayed by the film’s actors.
The infamous Tonya Harding was played by actress, Margot Robbie; she gave an outstanding performance as the ice skater, eventually leading her to an Oscar nomination for best actress. In her previous roles, she represented sexualized characters who were secondary roles in those films. However, her depiction of Tonya Harding is powerful and unlike anything, she has done before. Her performance is raw, tough and empowering, as she is the primary role in the film; therefore, this film could potentially be a breakthrough performance for Robbie.
Not to say that Tonya Harding was unaware of the attack on her former competitor; however, the film did not illustrate her as the mastermind behind it all, as I once believed to be true, along with most Americans. At the end of the film, her punishment was heartbreaking; moreover, it officially terminated her career in ice skating. Margot Robbie gave a distressing reaction to the court’s orders, which made her very worthy of the nomination.
Overall, the film was eye-opening into the world of ice skating and to the athletes’ competitive drive and love for the sport. I would definitely recommend this film to anyone who enjoys Olympic ice skating or anyone with a love for the film industry.