The Paw Print

I, Tonya

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

Hannah Keyes, Co-Editor In Chief

I, Tonya released in early December has garnered much attention as it is a movie that will leave one laughing, crying, and in awe at the dizzying yet astounding skating scenes.

This movie evokes a sense of nostalgia for those who grew up during the eighties and nineties with the various clothes and hairstyles. Also, it brings back memories for those who vividly remember the Tonya Harding “incident” since it was so widely publicized and she quickly became a household name.

Tonya Harding was an Olympic-qualifying figure skater who was the first to successfully land the triple axle, although is most notably remembered as the one who conspired in the attack on fellow skating competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. However, The movie I, Tonya shines a light on the realities of Tonya Harding’s life as she grew up poor and considered “white trash.” Although Tonya was undeniably talented, she was looked down upon by her peers and the judges, she was not seen as the ideal, princess-like figure skater that the public wanted to see winning every competition.   

Also, touching upon the serious nature of domestic and verbal violence, I, Tonya showcases how mental and physical instability can arise from an unsafe environment. Tonya grew up with heartbreak due to the abandonment of her father, leaving her with her alcoholic and verbally abusive mother. Tonya and her mother, LaVonna, never got along and they pushed each other to their breaking points. LaVonna would constantly bring Tonya down, degrading her body, skating skills, and intelligence. Tonya never left this vicious cycle of abuse as her first boyfriend and eventual husband Jeff Gillooly would hit her, leaving her with bruises that she would have to try to cover up before a competition.

Jeff is the person who became the bane of Tonya’s existence as he ended up ruining her career. He was involved with the planning of the Nancy Kerrigan incident. The movie describes that Jeff’s intention was to send death threats to Kerrigan, but that this information became misconstrued by his unintelligent best friend, Shawn who instead hired people to physically harm Nancy. The finger was pointed at Tonya and her life would never be the same.

This movie is extremely well done and deserves all the praise it is receiving. It shows a whole new side to “the incident” that the public may not have been exposed to prior. Even though this movie will soon be leaving theaters, one should seek to watch the movie as soon as it comes out for purchase.  

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