The Golden Globe-winning film “I, Tonya,” starring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, tells the true story of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding as she struggled to prove herself as a professional athlete. Harding triumphed as the first and only woman in an international competition to land a triple axel jump on ice. Her accomplishment, however, was short-lived as her career quickly became plagued by scandal.
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The story of Tonya Harding is encapsulating, frustrating and even funny at times, as told from the point of view of Harding, her mother, ex-husband and a few other characters. The drama, the “incident” and the heartbreak may seem to have manifested as a genius tale of fabrication and imagination, but this was no joke. This ludicrous narrative was entirely based off of true events.
Harding grew up in Portland, Oregon, raised by a brutally critical mother who put her on skates not long after she could walk. A tumultuous and unhealthy relationship between Harding and her first husband, Jeff Goolily, resulted in scandal, sabotage and a devastating lawsuit. This was no Nicholas Sparks novel.
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Growing up lower class, Harding fell victim to both physical and emotional abuse as she lacked a strong support system of friends or family. Due to her lack of education, skating was all she had ever known.
For those old enough to recall the events surrounding Harding’s Olympic appearances, this movie seemed to bring back old memories as clear as day. Those unaware at the time or possibly too young may not be able to help themselves from Googling the gritty details immediately after leaving the theater.
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The costume crew did an exquisite job recreating outfits to the tee. The help of Harding herself in producing the film had a key impact on its accuracy as opposed to outlandish Hollywood embellishment.
Many would argue that Harding was in the wrong through her involvement in a manipulating scandal caused by the injury of her fellow teammate. Others felt as if she was a victim trapped in an emotionally manipulating relationship.
The producers of this film allowed audience members to decide for themselves what they believed through portrayals of contradictory interviews between Harding, her mother and Goolily.
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Without the talent of the actors chosen to portray “real-life people,” this film would not have gained the award-winning status that it now holds. Allison Janney, who played Harding’s mother, received the Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion picture. Robbie, who played Harding, received earned a nomination for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion picture and the entire production received a nomination for Best Musical or Comedy Motion picture.
What happened to Harding? Why isn’t she referred to as an idyllic-Olympian competitor? Who was truly guilty for the scandal that erupted? Was justice ever served? See for yourself at a theater near you.