Wednesday, 7 March 2018

I Tonya

Afternoon Cinema ( There's nothing better)
Battling Alley cat Margot Robbie

I Tonya is a comedy/drama that has a great deal to say, very little of it about ice skating I must say.
Filmed in a part documentary, part direct to camera and part traditional narrative style it tells the conflicting story of the life of " redneck" figure skater Tonya Harding. Her glum upbringing, her relationships with her mother and husband and her eventual fall from grace from Olympic glory after that incident with Nancy Kerrigan.
It's a story of surviving what you are given in life , as Tonya from a very early age, was subjected to consistent verbal and physical abuse from her reptilian foul mouthed mother LaVona ( Alison Janney) who was obsessed in mailing her daughter an ice skating star.
The sport had no place for a junior star who couldn't afford the trappings of this all American middle class activity. When the other competitors wore fur coats when off the ice , young Tonya had to make do with a home made rabbit pelt coat and this heartbreaking snobbery within the sport sadly followed her to the end of her career. Despite talent she was scuppered from the start.
Played magnificently and with a subtle sympathy by Margot Robbie, the adult Tonya is portrayed as a product of her childhood and of a violent marriage, a battling, foul mouthed ally cat with very few allies and with her back up against the wall.
It's a towering performance by Robbie.
The Initial story of abuse makes way for the telling of the incompetent attempt by Harding's husband Jeff ( Sebastian Stan) to scupper Tonya's rival Nancy Kerrigan and although Tonya escapes his abuse and her toxic relationship with LaVona, her subsequent fall from grace is rather heartbreaking to watch.

Alison Janney ( I bet she had fun playing this mother from hell)

Like I said Margot Robbie is stunning in the title role. Stan almost matches her scene for scene but unsurprisingly Janney almost steals the show in a fringe wearing , chain smoking mother from hell performance. Her final scenes to camera with a small parrot on her shoulder have a special hypnotic and almost hysterical power all of their own .
9/10


35 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, John. Now I really want to see this film!

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    1. It's worth it jimbo, very thought provoking

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  2. Thanks for the review. The afternoon is my favorite time to go to the movies. I have not seen this but now maybe I will. The clips I have seen of it show that Alison Janney certainly deserved the Academy Award for her role. She is an excellent actress. I saw an interview where her in which she said she felt very bad playing such a mean role. However, those types of roles really give actors something to work with.

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    1. She plays it very well too

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  3. Allison Janney has been one of my favorite actresses for many years though I'm not sure she would have been if I'd seen her in this role first.

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    1. Yes she has a natural warmth which she disguises so well in this movie

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  4. I knew you'd like it! It's a great movie, if sometimes difficult to watch because of its disturbing content. And I agree -- all three principal actors were outstanding.

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    1. The movie has a great deal to say about violence class and women too

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  5. I like the sound of it!

    I was thinking I have read many great reviews on your blog and others and it's rare that I actually see the films that attract me. How to find them and list them? "role" is one word I could search under so I did that and came up with some old "Going gently" gems.


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    1. Thank you. It's a good movie..and a thought provoking one too

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  6. You nailed your assessment of figure skating. It was always an elitist sport.

    People wanted Tonya to win because she was working class. Nancy was (and still is from how she appears) a Princess. I also think Nancy was a great actress due to her facial expression in interviews subsequent to the assault. She milked it for all it was worth.

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    1. Interestingly, the film gave a nod that Nancy and Tonya were once roommates and beer buddies! Not quite the princess

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    2. That's true, Nancy was not from a well-to-do family, either; but she was 1) more physically attractive, and 2) possessed an air of innate grace and class that Tonya lacked entirely... I loved the movie. You have to give children credit for simply SURVIVING parents like that!

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  7. I've been looking for a movie to watch in a theater, and thanks for your post, I think this is the one.

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  8. Anonymous12:14 am

    I've not seen the film yet but I'm interested to find out if it comes close to reality. I'm from Tonya's hometown and from what I've seen so far it looks like fiction. Locals are not impressed with the depiction. Tonya has always been an attention seeking "victim". I'm looking forward to Alison Janney though!

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    1. I am interested in your review please email me jgsheffield@hotmail.com
      My review was a film not reality x

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  9. I met Tonya a couple times at UOHSC (Oregon) when she was a patient. Got a different perspective on her when she was a subject back then.

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    1. Wow. That's a trip. Would you see the film? I don't think I have enough distance from the story, although it's been ages, to want to see that story dramatized.

      I wonder how Nancy is feeling about this film? She'll likely not watch it, I'd expect.

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    2. Mike what was she like?

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  10. One of your 'Films of the Year, then? Might even be 'THE'! - though there's still a lot of the year to go. Glad you went and got as much out of it as I did.

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    1. Btw: On the subject of this sport, you'll be seeing (if it comes to your region) the John Curry film? 'The Ice King' arrives here at the end of the month and I'm intrigued to see it as he was a big name at the time when I myself had just 'come out' and people in my office used to make fun of him, with me now wondering if, perhaps, they were having a tangential dig at me through what was known of his own sexuality, something which shamefully caused me to distance myself from his 'type'. Now I'm keen to be fairer to his memory, rectifying my then negative reaction.

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    2. I think the film should be called THE ICE QUEEN

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    3. JG -- Big LOL!

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    4. I'd been tempted to make precisely the same comment, JayGee, but thought I'd rise above it. Obviously for SOME the temptation is too strong to resist! ;-)

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  11. Anonymous5:32 am

    Just for fun, some local commentary:
    http://www.oregonlive.com/trending/2018/01/i_nauseated_the_oregonians_for.html

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    1. Very interesting. "assaulting a rival to win a sporting event is despicable. (“I, Tonya” doesn’t comprehend that.)" Well said, from linked article.

      lizzy

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  12. Very weird to be watching a film in which I saw the events in real life, makes me feel old. Tonya was a brilliant athlete without the ballerina touch ice skaters have (not always) and I rarely saw a performance by Kerrigan where she didn't fall on her backside (had the ballerina touch). I don't know whether I would enjoy the film but will probably buy the dvd.

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  13. Great review John. Alison Janney looks scarily like Ann Robinson in that photo. Margot Robbie has come a long way since Neighbours.

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  14. Americans probably do not think of Tonya Harding as "redneck" as that term more likely refers to someone who is ignorant, from the south, a backwoods farmer, and so forth. But there are no geographic or educational limits to "trailer trash"...

    I usually have a good memory but I was wrong in thinking that Tonya's later career involved roller derby. I read about her after this post and the later career was in boxing. I must be slipping.

    Interesting post, John.

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  15. I think Americans do think of her as a
    Redneck-considering all the people in the South who also consider her one....
    I don't think it is a North/South thing.
    It is a Class thing.

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  16. I wanted to see this but missed it in the theaters. However, it is now on Netflix so I will watch it soon. 9 out of 10 from you tells me that it is very good.

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  17. Loved Janney in The West Wing and she was brilliant in The Help.

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  18. Missed it this year because our local theater didn't show it. Will be watching it on DVD though after reading your review John.

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  19. I read about her after this post and the later career was in boxing. I must be slipping.


    สมัคร D2BET

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