USA 2017, English
Principal Cast: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Bojana Novakovic
In 1994, the figure-skating world was rocked by a brutal attack on US medal hopeful Nancy Kerrigan. The more shocking news was that the attack was allegedly conceived and executed by those close to — and perhaps including — rival figure skater Tonya Harding. You might expect to see a film about Kerrigan, her triumphant recovery, and her silver medal at the Lillehammer Olympics, but that’s not the story we get here. This is Tonya’s story.
Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie; Suite Francaise, The Wolf of Wall Street) was the first American woman to achieve figure skating’s holy grail move, completing a triple axel in competition, in 1991. But success on the ice was not always matched with happiness in her personal life. She grew up constantly at odds with her abusive mother (Allison Janney; The Way Way Back, The Oranges) and fought for everything she had. Though an accomplished technical skater, pleasing the judges proved tougher and she was criticized for her lack of artistry and unconventional “trailer park” beauty. When she met Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan; The Martian, Ricki and Flash), he provided a long-awaited escape from her mother, an encouraging voice in her corner, and fatefully, connections to a sleazy underworld.
Approaching these real-life characters without judgment, Steven Rogers’s sharp script and Craig Gillespie’s (Lars and the Real Girl) bold direction combine to deliver a shamelessly entertaining film that is part mockumentary and part tragicomedy. With a transformative performance from Margot Robbie as Tonya and an unforgettable turn from Allison Janney (Academy award winner for Best Supporting Actress) as her mother, you’ll come away with a better understanding of the life behind the tabloid headlines. You might just find you like her, too.