Talk about an incredibly new and different way to make a biography.
Craig Gillespie (director) and Steven Rogers (screenwriter) decided to tell the story of Tonya Harding and the incident with Nancy Kerrigan in a very different way then audience members would expect. The film tells the story from two different perspectives; Tonya (Margot Robbie) and her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan).
This movie’s narrative is broken up into many interesting pieces. Robbie and Stan act out real interviews from Harding and Gillooly that were conducted by Steven Rogers prior to filming, and occasionally our main characters will break the fourth wall and describe their points of view on the situation instead to the audience. This adds so many different layers to what could’ve been just a normal biography. It’s equal parts tragic and hilarious and is very self-aware of the story it’s telling. They milk every aspect of it and leave you wanting more.
For those of you who don’t know, Tonya Harding was an Olympic figure skater. She was the first female figure skater to attempt and successfully land two triple axels in a single competition. After receiving a death threat before an event, assuming it was from her competition, she decides to retaliate. Unfortunately, retaliation did not go the way she planned. Fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan had her knee bashed in before a competition, and all eyes were on Harding and her ex-husband following the incident.
This movie is FILLED with some powerhouse performances. Not only are Stan and Robbie fantastic, but Allison Janney really captures audience attention as Harding’s mother. She’s an absolutely horrific human being, and Janney’s crass and odious attitude really aid in the audience feeling a sense of sympathy for Harding. We see her backstory and how she came to be the person that she is today. The psychological trauma of her past builds into this massive mess that the audience sees her attempt to grapple with.
Although this narrative is told from two very contradicting points of view, in the end you do feel a sense of compassion for Harding. You come to understand human psychology and the effects that abuse can have on a person. Especially the lifelong effects.