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18 Jan 2018

Skate Spectacle: Allison Janney and Margot Robbie Are Splendid in the Nasty, Funny 'I, Tonya'

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Margot Robbie in I, Tonya. Margot Robbie in I, Tonya.

Admit it: When Nancy Kerrigan got kneecapped by folks connected to Tonya Harding all those years ago, you just knew there would be a big Hollywood movie about it someday. Well, here it is, starring Margot Robbie as Harding—and it’s funny, nasty stuff.

Allison Janney is a sinister hoot as Tonya’s nasty mom, while Robbie proves, weirdly enough, that she was born to play Tonya Harding.

The movie is the subject some post-release controversy, as some people are claiming director Craig Gillespie and writer Steven Rogers tried to turn Harding into some kind of hero—an innocent in the scheme to take Kerrigan out and pave the way for Harding to become the world’s skating champion. Nah … Harding is not portrayed in a positive light here. It’s just that her mom is the greater villain—a manipulative, back-stabbing monster who Janney brings to hilarious fruition. As she brow-beats Tonya from her first moments on ice through her Olympic dreams, Janney’s version of Harding’s mother is a brash cinematic representation of bad parenting.

Robbie embodies Harding’s whiny, headstrong persona, staying faithful to the glimpses we’ve gotten of her through the years—especially when she challenges some judges giving her bad scores. Gillespie and his crew also do a good job of making it look like Robbie is doing all of the skating. (She isn’t; it’s a combo of Robbie, stunt women and CGI.)

The whole Tonya Harding episode of sports history was surreal and strange—and thankfully, so is this movie.

I, Tonya is now playing at the Century Theatres at the River and XD (71800 Highway 111; 760- 836-1940).

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