Craig Gillespie throws everything at this energetic but unfocused biopic about skater Tonya Harding, and the results are enervating and at times cynical
Ever since 1994, Tonya Harding's name has been inextricably linked to rival Nancy Kerrigan, but Kerrigan is barely a presence in I, Tonya. Instead, Craig Gillespie's film allows the vilified Harding (Robbie) to tell the story; or at least, her version of it, with a competing testimony being offered by her ex-husband Jeff (Stan).
I, Tonya juggles multiple truths while simultaneously attempting to incorporate knockabout comedy and fourth wall-breaking antics into its portrait of a woman enduring a lifetime of abuse and class prejudice, and the results are predictably messy. Everything about the film feels too broad and glib to connect with anything real, including a one-note supporting turn from Allison Janney, and while Robbie's commitment is never in doubt, she doesn't entirely convince in the lead role.
At a shade over two hours, I, Tonya's energetic, unfocused style is enervating, and by cynically turning on the audience with lines like “It’s what you all came for folks! The Incident!” and “You’re all my attackers too,” the filmmakers are skating on very thin ice. [Philip Concannon]