I, Tonya (15) – Out March 23rd

MARGOT Robbie’s big break came back in 2013 in Martin Scorsese’s epic The Wolf of Wall Street and has since become one of Hollywood’s hottest actresses.

Yet Wolf was also debatably Robbie's last great film.

She was one of the only positives in the awful Suicide Squad and the boring Legend of Tarzan and whilst Focus and Z for Zachariah were fine, they were still nothing special.

Then came I, Tonya, which finally displays her full range as an Actress but also delivers as an unbelievable movie filled with humour, surprises and some of the finest performances of the year.

This incredible true story follows competitive Ice Skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) and her rise up the ranks of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the Sport is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband decides to intervene.

With this being non-fictional, all the information about what occurs can easily be accessed online but I was personally totally unaware of this astonishing tale and I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing at times. This is a truly shocking often jaw dropping tale of one woman’s rise (and sometimes fall) of determination for the sport she loves and the off the ice problems that came with it.

And it is all shot perfectly by Craig Gillespie who directs with such grittiness yet flair and the whole feel of the film is flawless.

At times it can be a difficult watch but with such crazy characters the film mostly plays for humour, and is all the better for it.

One of the films strongest aspects was its sheer self-awareness. The way characters speak about themselves and how on numerous occasions will break the fourth wall and actually speak to the audience works superbly and fits the vibe of the film completely.

The cast all deliver some of the finest work of their careers.

Margot Robbie’s titular Tonya is not an easy girl to like but she somehow always keeps her relatable and someone we root for with some really touching moments to go along with her frequently foul language and the drama she was often involved in.

Despite Margot’s brilliance, she will sadly not win an Oscar for her performance (That is almost certainly going to the exceptional Frances McDormand for Three Billboards) and should instead be very proud of herself for her first nomination.

However, we can just lock it in now that Allison Janney is going to win for Best Supporting Actress.

She is a revelation here and easily one of my favourite characters in recent time.

Janney plays Tonya’s no nonsense mother LaVona Golden and she is just the Mum of everyone’s nightmares. However, her motives for her actions towards Tonya are surprisingly accurate and her determination to make her daughter the best was a real joy to watch.

Using enough swear words to ruin any child’s life, she is often hilarious and just says everything as it is. Tonya and LaVona truly hated each other but you can definitely feel the undercurrent of love between them which was really sweet.

Sebastian Stan (Marvel’s Winter Soldier) plays Tonya’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and in a totally different role for the actor, he totally nails it.

He is a damaged character who at times doesn’t deserve Tonya but the love they have for each other is, and always will be there, despite their many problems.

The only real weak link is Paul Walter Hauser as Jeff’s best friend and Tonya’s bodyguard Shawn.

I have never seen a character be used as the comedic relief yet be such a relevant and crucial part to the film’s mental story, and Shawn is a fun character but too many of his jokes just didn’t land for me.

But for anyone who doubts he is even based on a real person will have their answers when the real Shawn appears in the films closing credits, he really was just as big of an idiot as the film depicts.

It is a bit nasty for some, and it’s a tad too long at 120 minutes but this is a hugely enjoyable, downright outrageous movie with so many memorable moments and characters and is not to be missed.

You don’t have to be aware of the story or even a fan of Ice Skating to enjoy this.

If you’re a fan of well-acted, well made cinema and want to see a story so unbelievable it can only be true, this film is must see entertainment.

Verdict: Tense yet hilarious, vulgar yet utterly compelling, this is one true story that must not be missed anchored by career best turns by Margot Robbie and Allison Janney.

Best Moment: The “incident” scene is edge of your seat stuff.

Rating: 8.5/10

Also Seen:

Den of Thieves – 5/10

An incredibly disappointing heist film lead by some of the worst work of Gerard Butler’s career. The action is decent but isn’t nowhere near frequent enough and with writing this poor, it was never going to be anything more than a poor man’s Heat.

The Post – 7.5/10

Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are their usual best whilst Spielberg directs with class but the film is pretty heavy handed and not as frequently exciting as it thinks it is. It’s a well-made, relevant story but I just wish the first half was as exciting as the second.

The Commuter - 6/10

Absurd and illogical but a fun ride. Neeson makes for a great lead and the film is surprisingly well executed and directed but sadly once it’s finished, you won’t remember much more than one hilariously over the top explosion.

New Releases:

- Fifty Shades Freed

- The 15:17 to Paris

- Black Panther (Opens Tuesday 13th Feb)