I, Tonya Review – Triumphant; A Solid Gold, Four Star, Dramady

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

I, Tonya, from Clubhouse Pictures, Neon and 30West, presents the story of Tonya Harding and the outrageous, unbelievable, amazing wild ride she took from poverty to the best figure skater in the world and her tragic, shocking, horrible crash.

Directed by Craig Gillespie, I, Tonya, stars Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Bobby Cannavale, McKenna Grace, Caitlin Carver, Julianne Nicholson, Bojana Novakovic, Paul Walter Hauser, Anthony Reynolds, Jan Harrelson and Luray Cooper. I, Tonya was written by Steven Rogers. 

Showcased at the 2017 American Film Institute Film Festival presented by Audi, I, Tonya, is filmed in interview style with frequent fourth wall breaks as the characters would eye the camera and confirm or deny particular episodes in the volatile rise and fall and resurrection of the one time world champion.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Review – Impressive, Powerful Character Driven Performances

Tonya, played by Margot Robbie, opens the film, smoking a cigarette, with a leftover perm, cowboy boots, a denim jacket, with the statement that the world wants to hear, "I mean, come on! What kind of friggin' person bashes in their friend's knee? Who would do that to a friend?"

Then the film really begins. As the camera moves between three main characters, Jeff Gillooly, played by Sebastian Stan, and LaVona Golden, Tonya's mom, played by Allison Janney. As the "incident" as it has become known is discussed the story digresses to the beginning of Tonya Harding's figure skating career.

On that day we meet LaVona, a chain smoking, hard core, cursing, and generally shocking person who recognizes her daughter's ability to ice skate and is able to find the best coach, Diane Rawlinson, played by Julianne Nicholson, and persuade her to against her better judgment to coach a young Tonya, played by McKenna Grace.

Tonya grew up in an abusive environment, and oddly, the effort necessary to be a champion can be considered abusive by others. And as facts go, she was often, as the film depicts treated abusively as a child and as the abuse become more aggressive until her mother stabbed her with a knife. Okay, granted LaVona tossed the knife at her with enough force that it stuck in her arm.

At this point Tonya was dating her future husband, Jeff, and skating competitively and making a name, along with a bad reputation, for herself on the ice. As much as she wanted to be judged fairly, she was always discriminated against, and finally fed up she approached a judge rink side who told her they also judged her on her appearance.

And outside the rink, alone, she was told; Ice skating is for princesses, for those with a wholesome American family, she, as everyone knew was the antithesis of ethereal ice goddess and her family was best suited for a Most Wanted poster.

After we meet Tonya as a child and see the dedication, drive, and ability she gives to skating against all odds, she's fighting her mother, who credits herself with Tonya's success, she's fighting preconceived ideas about the sport, fighting poverty, fighting herself and every other demon that is chasing her as she become the only woman in figure skating history, at the time to attempt and complete a triple axel, stick the landing and skate into history.

And even as the world was in awe the judges plotted to find a way to rid themselves of this blemish, this blight that forced her way onto the podium and into the record books.

Of course, the I, Tonya story wouldn't be complete without the Nancy Kerrigan "issue." We barely meet Nancy, played by Caitlin Carver, with a few scenes filled in by Tonya we find out she and Nancy were at one point friends, rooming together on the road. The bad blood belief was media made to earn bigger, better ratings.

Tonya, was obviously a great skater, raised in an abusive environment, she didn't always have the best judgment. When she moves out she moves in with Jeff and soon wedded bliss has flown the coup and she becomes, once again, the victim of violent assaults. This cycle goes on for many years.


The Shape of Water Review – A Wild, Fantastical, Journey


And during a "make-up" phase, her husband Jeff, who at some point had some sense although not much of it was left during his marriage to Tonya, becomes her business manager. And someone who negotiates deals. So to be kind they enlist Shawn Eckhardt, played by Evan George Hauser, to be her body guard. Shawn, we find out has delusions of being a counter terrorism expert. It is equally sad and terrifying.

Tonya just wants to skate. She can win a place on the Olympic Team, fairly, even defeating ethereal princess Nancy when the world shatters underneath her.

I, Tonya is an unexpected, surprising, tragic/triumphant film. Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan and Paul Walter Hauser are extraordinary!

I thought I knew about the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident and I came out of this film with respect for Ms. Harding as she was presented. More than a champion skater she is brave, daring, courageous, fearless and inspiring. Even now.

High marks to Robbie for her technical performance handling most of the ice skating and physical demands herself after only five months of lessons. 

This film is solid gold! A wild, shocking ride with Margot Robbie and Allison Janney giving impressive and OCSAR bound performances.

I, Tonya, opens December 8, 2017, in theaters everywhere! See this film! 

 

Haute Tease

  • AFI FEST 2014 Presented by Audi Announces Bold New Auteurs, Shorts and American Independents Titles

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA,October 16, 2014– AFI FEST 2014 presented by Audi, a program of the American Film Institute, announced today the films that will be featured in the New Auteurs, Shorts and American Independents sections at this year's festival.

     
  • Sonja Kinski Talks Acting, Growing Up Surrounded by Fame and, her Newest Film, Diamond on Vinyl

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    “Diamond on Vinyl,” the newest film from director J.R. Hughto and starring Sonja Kinski, brings to the screen an indie cult classic that elevates traditional obsession and voyeurism modernizing it with a 21st century twist.

     
  • CURLS Hair Care Rocks The Rolling Stone Lounge with Blow Out Bash

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Mahisha Dellinger, CURLS Hair Care founder, celebrated a decade of curl power with a star studded blow out bash at The Rolling Stone Lounge in Hollywood during which she announced the acquisition of the KYNX Hair Care collection expanding the CURLS brand to include type four hair, and bringing this dynamic product, KYNX, into the CURLS family.

     
  • Fandango Teams with Paramount Pictures And Participant Media To Host Exclusive Advance Screening Of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power”

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Fandango is teaming up with Paramount Pictures and Participant Media to host an exclusive advance screening of "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power," the much-anticipated follow-up to two-time Academy Award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on May 6.  

  • Tribeca Film Acquires U.S. Rights to British Romance Summer In February

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    New York, NYTribeca Film today announced it has acquired U.S. rights to director Christopher Menaul’s “Summer in February,” starring Dominic Cooper (“The Devil's Double”), Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”), and Emily Browning (“Sleeping Beauty”). The screenplay is written by Jonathan Smith, based on his novel of the same name. 

Crime

  • Sandy Hook Massacre: The Funeral Procession

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The funeral procession of tiny caskets filled with the hopes, dreams and futures that were shattered when a lone gunman shot his way into the safety of Sandy Hook Elementary School have ended.

     
  • Five Dead; Nine Injured in Ft. Lauderdale Airport Shooting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A lone gunman has been taken into custody at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Florida, Airport after firing multiple shots killing five and injuring nine. Real time tweets from former Presidential Press Secretary Ari Fleischer provided actual, real time, credible information.

     
  • People Video Exclusive: WATCH: Video of Marine Veteran Allegedly Held Captive at Motel for 4 Years that Led Cops to Rescue Him

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    New details are emerging in the case of an 81-year-old Korean War veteran with dementia allegedly held hostage in a Highland Falls, New York, motel room for four years by a man stealing his pension and Social Security checks.

     
  • Guilty Verdict Long Overdue in Etan Patz Murder

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Manhattan jury deliberated nine days before it rendered a guilty verdict in the 40-year-old kidnapping and murder of eight-year-old Etan Patz who disappeared in 1979 as he walked to school in New York City.

     
  • Crime City USA: The Top Thirty Murder Capitals

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Crime rates are decreasing across large cities in the United States, but murder rates are on the rise.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • V Theater Las Vegas Review - Entertainment Aplenty

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    No matter how many times you’ve visited Vegas, no trip would be complete without taking in a show or two amidst the time you spend eating, gaming, clubbing, sunning and otherwise funing in Sin City.

     
  • Interstellar Soundtrack with Music By Hans Zimmer Out In Time For The Holidays

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    (October 28, 2014 – Los Angeles, CA) WaterTower Music today proudly announces the November 18 release of Interstellar: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, with music by renowned composer Hans Zimmer, whose career has earned him Grammy, Golden Globe, Classical Brit, Academy, Tony, and American Music Awards.

     
  • Ten Top Gourmet Food Shops and Eating Establishments in the Latin Quarter Revealed

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Stepping into a Paris restaurant can be a formidable experience for any traveler. Not only do you have to make your wishes understood by a waiter who may or may not speak your language, but you must quickly learn how to adapt to local dining customs as well.

     
  • HL London: Mick Jones Opens Library; Releases Limited Edition Instrumental Album

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Mick Jones of The Clash, one of the most established and respected figures in British pop music, has opened his Rock and Roll Public Library as part of the 56th Venice Biannale releasing a very limited edition of up tempo instrumentals called 'Ex Libris'.

     
  • Celebrities Pay Tribute to Jerry and Elaine Orbach During Launch of Remember How I Love You

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Celebrities, family and friends of the late Jerry and Elaine Orbach gathered recently, at The Snapple Theater Center in Manhattan’s Theater District, to honor them with readings from their newly released book, “Remember How I Love You - Love Letters From An Extraordinary Marriage.”