With lots of style errors and editing mistakes, it just doesn’t reach the heights that it so easily could have
The praise for I, Tonya comes from its quick nature and its brutal style, giving it a genuinely powerful edge. Throughout, there is an overbearing sense of recklessness and maverick behavior that seems to be unrivaled in an age of solemn and calm awards winners. What I, Tonya does well, it does brilliantly, but its flaws are often too huge to just skate over.
Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) is one of the best figure skaters in America, but her outward appearance puts off judges and fans alike as her home life seeps into her performances and personality. Abused by both her mother, LaVona (Allison Janney) and her boyfriend, Jeff (Sebastian Stan) she becomes violent and aggressive and however well she performs, the hierarchy of American skating continues to reject her. Yet, after a lucky break, her fortune seems to be on the rise, until an “accident” brings her world crashing down, worse than ever before.
The majority, and especially the first section, of the film, feels violently rushed, as it races through the plot without caring its character portrayals come across as they should. Much like 2017’s Beauty And The Beast, there’s an emphasis on moving the story onwards with little regard to how this actually appears on screen. It’s a crucial mistake to make leaving the resulting portion of the film feeling somewhat sluggish.
It’s undeniably a thrilling watch, and there’s a huge amount to love in each of the performances. The representation of the true story and the manner in which Tonya’s life history is shown add to the overarching intrigue but it is quick editing and over-production that makes I, Tonya feel the way it does.
It is still an easy film to recommend, and one of real joy and sometimes hilarity, but that’s not where quality films earn their rewards. With lots of style errors and editing mistakes, it just doesn’t reach the heights that it so easily could have, and should have.