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Craig Gillespie
Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney
Writing Credits:
Steven Rogers

Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$2,861,168 on 799 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 119 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 3/13/2018

• Audio Commentary with Director Craig Gillespie
• Deleted Scenes
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurettes
• Trailers
• Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


I, Tonya [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 28, 2018)

During the long, storied existence of the “modern-day” Olympics, no event may seem as bizarre and far-fetched as the intentional injury inflicted on ice skater Nancy Kerrigan before the 1994 Winter Games. That made Kerrigan “America’s Sweetheart” and turned her rival – allegedly involved with the crime – into a de facto villain.

More than 20 years after the fact, 2017’s I, Tonya attempts to depict this situation from the side of Harding and those connected to her. Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) comes from a hard-scrabble background under abusive mother LaVona (Allison Janney).

Despite her “redneck roots”, Tonya shows such great talent for ice skating that she manages to rise through the ranks in the semi-elitist sport. This leads her toward competition in the Olympics.

Eager for a sure path to a gold medal, Tonya conspires with her on-again/off-again husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) to sabotage Kerrigan’s (Caitlin Carver) chances. Under the incompetent leadership of Jeff’s delusional pal Shawn Eckardt (Paul Walter Hauser), hired goon Shane Stant (Ricky Russert) physically attacks Kerrigan, an action that brings down a house of cards around Tonya and company.

In an alternate universe, Harding acts as an inspirational figure. A woman who pulled herself up by the “skate straps” and overcame severe odds to reach the top of her sport, Tonya would be viewed as a hero – if only she’d not attempted to stack the deck via the attack on Kerrigan.

To date, I don’t think Harding has admitted to involvement in or prior awareness of the physical attack on Kerrigan. In early 2018, she admitted she had suspicions about the plot, but I don’t think she stated anything more damning than that.

Not that Tonya really worries about historical clarity, an approach it acknowledges at the start. During the opening credits, a title card tells us the film is “based on irony free, wildly contradictory, totally true interviews with Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly” – in other words, don’t bother to point out inaccurate material on IMDB.

I don’t mind the movie’s avoidance of facts, but I find myself a bit more put off by the superficial way it approaches the material. While Tonya wants to give us insights into its lead, it never does much to explore beneath the surface.

This means we see little more than a put-upon, underprivileged girl who develops a chip on her shoulder as she battles the world. A slick, slippery film, Tonya doesn’t go for much real substance, as it opts for such a flashy presentation that it shoots for glitz over everything else.

Though this approach works for a while, it becomes a little tedious before too long. Tonya demonstrates an ample Scorsese influence and often feels like “GoodFellas On Ice".

Because of this, Tonya tends to seem derivative, as it never develops its own personality. I understand that Scorsese remains an influential figure, but director Craig Gillespie doesn’t manage to put enough of his own imprint on the material.

As noted, the movie’s fast and loose approach feels exciting for a while, and the actors do fairly well in their parts. Indeed, both Robbie and Janney earned Oscar nominations for their work, with Janney favored to win as I write a few days before the ceremony.

I won’t say neither deserved their nominations – but I won’t claim they did, either, largely due to the superficial nature of their roles. It becomes difficult for actors to overcome the underwritten nature of these parts.

That said, I think Robbie, Janney and the rest execute their roles as needed based on the script, and they probably add a bit more depth than they were given. Again, the actors offer good work here – even if it feels ridiculous to see 27-year-old Robbie play Harding as a teen.

No matter how hard the actors try, though, they can’t quite redeem the thin, inconsistent script, and Gillespie’s focus on flashy storytelling gets old after a while. I, Tonya manages a generally entertaining semi-factual fable but it doesn’t fulfill all its goals, mainly because it grows a little stale too long before it ends.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

I, Tonya appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a quality presentation.

For the most part, sharpness worked well. A little softness occasionally hit some wide elements, but the majority of the movie boasted accurate delineation.

No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I witnessed no instances of edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to mar the proceedings.

To the surprise of no one, Tonya went with Hollywood Standard Orange and Teal. Tedious as those choices may seem, the image reproduced the colors as intended.

Blacks seemed dense and deep, while shadows offered appropriate smoothness and clarity. The Blu-ray reproduced the film well.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it heavily emphasized music, as the nearly omnipresent score and songs filled all five channels. Effects took a backseat but they added some involvement, mainly during skating-related sequences.

Audio quality appeared good, with speech that came across as natural and distinctive. Effects also seemed accurate and tight, with clear reproduction of these components.

As noted, music turned into the most prominent component, and the songs/score boasted solid range and dimensionality. This became a more than satisfactory track for the film.

A few extras fill out the disc, and we begin with an audio commentary from director Craig Gillespie. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing and camerawork, visual effects and recreating skating, costumes, period details and related topics.

We get a pretty good chat from Gillespie, as he covers a nice array of subjects and does so with verve. Gillespie makes this an engaging and informative track.

Five Deleted Scenes take up a total of 17 minutes, 25 seconds. Most of these offer fairly short expansions of the characters that add some fun moments – such as Harding’s accusation that Jeff conspired with Nancy Kerrigan to frame Tonya.

The longest of the bunch, “Sawyer Interview” goes for 11 minutes, five seconds and provides a recreation of Diane Sawyer’s TV chat with Shawn. It’s really more a collection of outtakes than an actual “deleted scene”, but it’s interesting to see.

Behind the Scenes provides five featurettes: “All Sixes” (3:37), “Irony Free, Totally True” (3:34), “Working with Director Craig Gillespie” (2:21), “The Visual Effects of I, Tonya” (4:23) and “VFX: Anatomy of the Triple Axel” (1:58).

Across these, we hear from Gillespie, screenwriter Steven Rogers, producers Brian Unkeless and Tom Ackerley, VFX producer Juliet Tierney, VFX creative director Jean Marc Demmer, and actors Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Paul Walter Hauser, and Julianne Nicholson.

The clips look at cast, story, characters and performances, skating and visual effects, and Gillespie’s work on the set. The segments that focus on effects and replicating the skating offer good info but the others tend to be promotional in nature.

The disc opens with ads for Ingrid Goes West and Beach Rats. We also find three trailers for Tonya.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Tonya. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Despite a fun, lively start, I, Tonya eventually becomes buried beneath its lack of substance. Though the movie gives us a generally entertaining piece, it loses steam as it goes. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and audio along with a mostly positive roster of supplements. Tonya keeps us reasonably engaged but it lacks the depth it needs.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4285 Stars Number of Votes: 7
4 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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