TIFF Review: I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie

TIFF Review: I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie
  1. TIFF Review: I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie
    I, Tonya sold during TIFF to distributors Neon and 30West, in a deal said to be $5 million. Lainey thinks that’s low, but it sounds about right to me—the natural effect of the disastrous summer is more cautious spending. Netflix was apparently offering $8 million—I ran across some Netflix buyers …
Margot Robbie attends the 'I, Tonya' premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 8, 2017 in Toronto, Canada 297728

I, Tonya is heavy on gimmicks, using not only a documentary format and “irony free” and “wildly contradictory” talking-head interviews—think To Die For—but also breaking the fourth wall, which crosses the documentary format but doesn’t screw up the film. It’s an incredible tonal balancing act, half cinéma vérité, half reality TV confessional, and it’s managed almost perfectly by actors who commit to the premise (devised by screenwriter Steve Rogers, best known for romantic dramas like Hope Floats), and director Craig Gillespie, who is no stranger to odd tones, having directed Lars and the Real Girl. Actors have room to perform, there’s no fancy stuff in the interview segments, and the trickiest camera work is reserved for the ice skating scenes, which required a skating double and digital effects to complete. The narrative portions are approached in a low-key, classic way, which gives I, Tonya the anchor it needs to effectively sell the gimmicks.

But what really powers I, Tonya is class. The heart of I, Tonya is Tonya Harding’s struggle with a sport and a system rooted in a world of privilege that is closed to Tonya, and even when she tries to fit in, it proves indecipherable. Nancy Kerrigan came from a working class background, but her camera-ready blue collar family is a world away from Tonya’s hardscrabble upbringing in Portland, Oregon. Class isn’t just defined as “rich, and everyone else”, and what I, Tonya does so well is show how far the gulf really is between the strata—Tonya is lower class, Nancy is working class, but for all the difference it affords her, Nancy might as well be royalty.

Tonya’s homemade uniforms and the fur coat made out of rabbits her father skinned set her apart from the other girls in the skating world. Her colors are a little too bright and her sequins slightly too many; she likes hard rock and blue nail polish. Her skating is athletic, but she doesn’t have the grace of other skaters, and she yells at judges and curses at the rink. She is not, as one judge tells her, what they want representing their sport and country. Tonya’s famous triple axel forces judges to give her the scores she deserves, but there is a constant strain of dislike aimed at her, even when she’s winning.

And her struggle isn’t just on the ice. I, Tonya delves into Tonya’s personal life, from her relationship with her mother, LaVona (Allison Janney, working on that Oscar), and then her husband, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan, disappearing behind a regrettable mustache and soft voice). The film is at its liveliest when cutting between interviews with Tonya, LaVona, and Jeff, all of whom tell different versions of the same events. Whether you believe her or not, the film traces Tonya’s history of abuse and how an abusive home life with LaVona leads to an abusive home life with Jeff, and Tonya herself compares her infamy to abuse. Tonya has a hard life where she has to fight for every scrap and work three times as hard to force her way into world class competition, so by the time “the incident” comes up, it feels like the natural progression of a trapped animal desperately seeking a way out.

I, Tonya does not attempt to definitively answer who knew what, and when, or who is at most fault, though Jeff does admit to “completely ruining” Tonya’s career. The film is most sympathetic to Tonya, but throughout the buildup it is shown how Tonya can never accept responsibility for anything, so it does leave a sliver of doubt about the degree of her innocence. The attack itself is a “World’s…

  1. Laurence Fishburne's wife Gina Torres announces split after she is photographed kissing another man

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 19:50 www.laineygossip.com
    Here’s the headline of a Page Six article that made me yell expletives at my phone yesterday: “Laurence Fishburne’s wife spotted kissing a different man.” Laurence Fishburne is (was?) married to an experienced actress who has appeared in countless movies and television shows over her 30-year care…
  2. Fergie Breaks Silence on Josh Duhamel Split, Calls It 'Weird' to Pretend They're Still Couple

    Aceshowbiz.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 19:32 www.aceshowbiz.com
    The 'You Already Know' singer and her estranged husband initially kept their separation secret but finally decided to make it public because of 'all the romantic…
  3. Crushing on Taron Egerton as he promotes Kingsman: The Golden Circle

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 19:10 www.laineygossip.com
    Taron Egerton and the rest of the cast of Kingsman: The Golden Circle have been premiering the film around the world. They were just in Seoul. London before that. For most of you, when you look at photos of the cast of Kingsman, the one who you’d want to spend a romantic evening with is Colin F…
  4. Smutty Social Media, August 20, 2017

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 18:27 www.laineygossip.com
    Jennifer Meyer and Jennifer Aniston cover The Hollywood Reporter together. It’s been a huge year for Jen Meyer’s jewelry line – she announced a stand-alone store to open next year (and she was featured WWD, The New York Times and again in THR, just last month, for her philanthropic work). Jen A. …
  5. Woman linked to Kevin Hart's cheating scandal denies being an extortionist

    Torontosun.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 18:19 www.torontosun.com
    LOS ANGELES — A woman has come forward to say she was involved with Kevin Hart a month ago but she is not an e…
  6. Alicia Vikander in first trailer for Tomb Raider

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 17:43 www.laineygossip.com
    After Assassin’s Creed’s failure, the video game curse remains unbroken, and now it is coming for Alicia Vikander. They have tried everything with video game movies, from 1990’s super-cheese to high fantasy (Warcraft) to artsy realism (Assassin’s Creed). None of it worked, and nothing in the firs…
  7. Jake LaMotta, the boxer who was immortalized in the movie ‘Raging Bull,’ has died at age 95

    Canada.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 17:06 www.canada.com
    Academy Award-winning film starring Robert De Niro was based on the memoir of former middleweight champion known as the Bronx…
  8. Ryan Phillippe planning to countersue ex girlfriend for defamation following abuse allegations

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 17:00 www.laineygossip.com
    Ryan Phillippe’s ex-girlfriend, Elsie Hewitt, is suing him for allegedly attacking her. Now Ryan is planning to countersue her for defamation. According to TMZ, the voice of celebrity men’s rights movement, Ryan is claiming he’s innocent and that Elsie is bitter about their breakup and has fabri…
  9. Foo Fighters' drummer Taylor Hawkins was slapped by Prince Harry

    Torontosun.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 16:29 www.torontosun.com
    Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins found it hilarious when Britain’s Prince Harry slapped him in the face to help him overcome jet l…
  10. Kevin Hart’s Video Girl Montia Sabbag’s Press Conference

    Heavy.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 16:05 heavy.com
    The girl involved in the sex video with Kevin Hart, Montia Sabbag, is participating in a press conference about the case…
  11. Aaron Paul announces wife Lauren's pregnancy in cheesy Instagram post

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 15:54 www.laineygossip.com
    “I just rolled my eyes for a week.” That’s what our LaineyGossip site manager, Emily, sent me along with the shot of Aaron Paul and Lauren Parsekian’s pregnancy announcement.   Hey everyone. Look what I did. Words can't express how excited I am that this little one …
  12. Celebrity chef Kate McAloon on what it's like cooking for Gwyneth Paltrow

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 15:31 www.laineygossip.com
    When Sarah went to the goop summit this summer, she wrote about what she heard at Dr Steven Gundry’s “Gut Check” panel. He’s the dude who tries to read Dr Jen Gunter, Dr Jen Gunter, MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, DABPM, ABPM (pain) by saying she cusses too much and she read him back by saying… SCIENCE, lear…
  13. Halle Berry makes it Instagram official with boyfriend Alex Da Kid

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 14:24 www.laineygossip.com
    Yesterday in Smutty Social Media, I said that I’d like to Gossip Genie Alexander Skarsgård and Halle Berry, if for no other reason than their collective beauty. Well ask and someone (not me) shall receive. Yesterday Halle went “Insta official” with someone named Alex. Not the Alex I was sugge…
  14. Billy Bush, wife separating after nearly 20 years

    Torontosun.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 14:15 www.torontosun.com
    NEW YORK — Former “Access Hollywood” and “Today” show personality Billy Bush has separated from wife Sydney Davis after nearly 20 years of marriage…
  15. Serena Williams' classy and poignant letter to her mother claps back at Maria Sharapova

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 13:41 www.laineygossip.com
    Serena Williams has been a role model since she was 15 years old. She was a role model to me through my most formative years. There have been many times in my life when just looking at Serena Williams—a black woman, the Greatest Of All Time, the smart, stunning, capable champion that she is—has h…
  16. September 20, 2017 – Smutty Shout-Outs

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 13:19 www.laineygossip.com
    September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each year, over 1,400 children are diagnosed with cancer in Canada alone. Right now, 10,000 kids across Canada are battling cancer with another 21,000 survivors still living with its long-term effects. The numbers are even higher around the…
  17. Jada Pinkett Smith insists she's not a Scientologist despite Leah Remini's claims

    Torontosun.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 13:12 www.torontosun.com
    Jada Pinkett Smith has dismissed Leah Remini’s claims she is a Scientologist, insisting she is not a member of the c…
  18. Rachel Bilson, Hayden Christensen reportedly split

    Torontosun.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 13:12 www.torontosun.com
    Actors Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson have reportedly split after almost a decade…
  19. Intro for September 20, 2017

    Laineygossip.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 12:58 www.laineygossip.com
    Dear Gossips, I know you’re probably almost over the Emmys by now. Or you are already over the Emmys and you don’t understand why I have to talk about it again. But please, stay with me. Please care about this as much as I care about it: Justin Timberlake has 4 Emmys. Shonda Rhimes ha…
  20. Cheeky! Karrueche Tran Flashes Her Thong in Completely See-Through Pants

    Aceshowbiz.com - Celebrities
    09.20 / 10:15 www.aceshowbiz.com
    The 29-year-old model takes to social media to share a photo of her showcasing her pert derriere and thong underwear in a pair of completely see-through…