The red band trailer for I, Tonya has been released. In Hollywood, there is no shortage of inspirational sports movies based on true stories. Whether about a high school or college team coming together like in Remember the Titans or We Are Marshall, a struggling child using sports as an escape like in Rudy or The Blind Spot, or a real life athlete’s struggle against racism, like in Race or 42, audiences have been treated to many uplifting and heartwarming stories. I, Tonya is not one of those movies.
Based on the true story of Tonya Harding, who will always be more famous for scandal than for her skills as a figure skater, I, Tonya is a dark comedy about a woman who will do anything to win – except be the best. It stars Margot Robbie as Harding and Sebastian Stan as Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gilooly. Also starring Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, and Caitlin Carver as Harding’s rival Nancy Kerrigan, the movie tells the story of the 1994 attack on Kerrigan and the role Harding played in it.
Now the movie’s trailer has been released by NEON, one of the film’s distribution companies. In the trailer audiences can hear Robbie’s flawless Pacific Northwest accent as she portrays the first American woman to complete a triple axel jump in competition – and who will always be remembered for what happened off the ice instead.
The news shook the world when it happened. Champion figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by an assailant who injured her leg. Rumors that Harding had arranged the attack to keep Kerrigan out of the ’94 Olympics were immediate and there was a media frenzy, with reporters following Harding’s every move. Kerrigan was healed enough to compete in the Olympics, and the investigation into Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gilooly as well as the criminal charges filed against them lead to the end of Harding’s figure skating career for good.
The trailer focuses largely on Harding’s relationship with her mother, played by Allison Janney. Their relationship was an abusive one, with her mother often insulting and hitting Tonya as a child and even accompanying Tonya on her first date. Harding was only 19 when she married Gilooly, and while it is not stated in the trailer, it seems likely that to her the marriage was about escaping her mother. Throughout the trailer, Harding narrates and even breaks the fourth wall to talk to the audience about everything from the meaning of truth to the press to whether events in the movie actually happened.
While the trailer does show the movie’s darkly comic tone, there are also indications that the more serious aspects of the story will be given the weight and depth they deserve. The true story behind I, Tonya is certainly a crazy one, and it looks like the movie will give a strong look at the equally crazy series of events which lead up to it – as well as the insanity that followed.
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