8.5/10 All of the hype surrounding this film had come in the performances from actresses Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, whom were both nominated for this film. This hype is definitely earned, but I feel that the film as a whole has not been given the hype that it deserves as well. I figured the film would be good but it was much better than just good. The direction and choice to make this as part mockumentary, part dramatic retelling and characters breaking the fourth wall add up for a very entertaining and creative film. Instead of just a straight up re-enactment, the way this film unfolds as it jumps back and forth in time and will pause to cut to an interview right at a climactic part is brilliant and probably why the film got another Academy Award nomination for its editing. There is one shot of Sebastian Stan’s character going through depression after he and Tonya split and the camera moves from room to room with him in the new room every time, even though it appears as a long, single take with no cuts. This is a great editing trick and beautifully done. The soundtrack is also one of the best of the year and really gets you in the mindset for the era that this takes place in. The acting is top notch and Robbie continues to impress and you can tell she really researched Tonya Harding to get her look, mannerisms and skating down the best she could. The film has some hilarious moments involving really dumb criminals that had me laughing more than I did in most comedies this year, as well as a moment near the end that had me in tears. It is this emotional range that makes the film so strong. If you stop and think about it, this is a very sad film. Tonya had an absent father, a lifelong abusive mother and an abusive boyfriend/fiancé/husband. It is easy to see why she turned out the way she did and I was sympathetic towards her. The flaws are relatively minor but would include not following up with some smaller supporting characters like Tonya’s coaches and I believe that this film is definitely best upon its first viewing when you don’t know exactly how things play out according to each character. That being said, this is a fascinating biopic told from contradictory real life accounts filled with amazing acting, a killer soundtrack, top notch editing and emotional resonance that lingers with you after the film has ended. Skate on up to your local theater and give this film the gold medal it deserves.
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