Biopics are an almost universally boring and unnecessary category, but I, Tonya subverts that by a) relitigating a scandal and depicting as a hero someone long understood to be a villain, and b) being brutally entertaining. Its pitch-black comedy is reminiscent of The Wolf of Wall Street, with inferior style but a vastly more appealing and sympathetic protagonist. As Tonya Harding and her mother, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney own the film, and without performances of their impressive caliber, I would have suggested skipping it in favor of The Price of Gold. However, Sebastian Stan’s lucid, borderline cunning rendering of Tanya’s abusive husband Jeff Gillooly is distractingly at odds with the character’s nitwit profile, especially next to Paul Hauser’s (apparently accurate) caricature of Gillooly’s ridiculous accomplice, Shawn Eckardt.
All told, I, Tonya is uneven but not a waste of time.