I, Tonya deserves an Olympic gold medal for its successful combination of comedy and drama. The film is based on the life of US figure skater Tonya Harding and the attack on her competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, prior to the 1994 Olympics. Writer Steven Rogers and director Craig Gillespie took an artistic and entertaining approach in telling Harding’s story. The movie constantly flips back and forth from a chronological telling of Harding’s youth leading up to the attack to (acted) interviews with characters in the present day. This mode of storytelling also allows Tonya to break the fourth wall and correct any information she disagrees with from her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly’s interviews. The interviews and breaking the fourth wall are genius on their own because they capture the difficulty of one person trying to tell their story while close friends, family, the media, and entire nations overpower them and attempt to tell the story from their own contradicting perspectives.
While the movie touches on how the media may have abused and manipulated Harding’s story, there is a greater focus on Harding’s difficult home life, as well as exposing the unfair judgment she received in skating competitions strictly because she was not the idealized image of the American woman. Harding’s home life and marriage is often shocking and devastating, yet the blend of comedy amidst the drama made this movie feel more realistic. The witty lines bring the personalities of various characters to life.
The costumes and casting were also incredible for this film. The skating outfits were based on Harding’s actual outfits from her competitions. Beyond Margot Robbie’s amazing performance as Tonya, Paul Hauser’s performance as Shawn Eckhardt, Tonya’s bodyguard, was very accurate (stay and watch the real interviews in the credits and judge for yourself).
I also recommend this movie for anyone who enjoys great camera work. There is a wonderful long shot that moves from room to room in Jeff’s house and shows him moping in each place. On the whole, this movie is both visually pleasing and masterfully written. Even if you’re someone who remains convinced Harding was more involved with the attack on Kerrigan than she claims, this movie can still entertain you and make you sympathize with the injustices Harding faced.
*This article was originally written for SFU’s student newspaper, The Peak.
The 2018 reboot of The Grinch felt like nothing more than another thoughtless Hollywood remake created with the intentions of capitalizing on an already popular story. The original adaptation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, was an animated TV special released in 1966. Since it was a TV special, the runtime was approximately 20 minutes and the film was basically just an animated version of the book. It’s a great 20minute episode (my family still watches it almost every year). The live-action version starring Jim Carrey was released in 2000, and it has got to be one of the best Christmas movies to this day! The jokes are hysterical, the costumes are amazing, and the sets and props are surreal! I was super excited about the new film because I love both of the other adaptations, but it was incredibly disappointing.
Unfortunately, the new animated adaptation of The Grinch had very little to offer. It felt like they simply took the extended storyline of the live-action version and stripped out most of the jokes. One of the slight alterations made to the plot was that Cindy Lou wanted to deliver a letter to Santa asking for help for her mother. Her mother is depicted as an overworked and exhausted single parent trying to take care of three children while also working night shifts. In the end, the mother’s struggles feel unresolved and the focus remains on the Grinch and his feeling of belonging.
The new movie had several well-known actors, yet the voice actors didn’t add anything special to the film. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the Grinch, but the film may have been more entertaining if they had cast a comedian for the role. Steve Carell, for example, would’ve been a great pick. Carell actually alters his voice dramatically to make exciting characters (example: Gru from Despicable Me).
There were a couple of laughs throughout the movie, but on the whole there just wasn’t anything special or new. Children might enjoy The Grinch, but I don’t think it’s worth the admission rate. Save your money for better holiday movies coming soon to theatres.
Bohemian Rhapsody will have you stomping your feet and singing in theatres, but it may also leave you irritated if you’re a devoted Queen fan. The movie follows the formation of the band with a focus on Freddie Mercury, capturing their experimentation with music and successes on tour. The film focuses closely on Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) as he struggles with his sexuality.
Looking at Bohemian Rhapsody strictly as a film, it was an exciting movie worth seeing on the big screen. The beginning of the film and band formation felt rushed; the movie quickly moved from concert to concert, which was entertaining but had me worried there wouldn’t be much of a storyline. In the first 20-30 minutes of the film, I began to wonder if this movie was just an excuse to have a cast dress up as the band and recreate their biggest moments. Fortunately, this feeling subsided as the movie progressed and the writing became more comedic and emotional.
The film had a strong cast that helped build up these comedic and emotional scenes. Rami Malek made the concert scenes feel real and energetic, while also making Mercury’s loneliness evident and overwhelming. Malek also manages to make record deals seem hilarious, but the humour in these scenes should also be attributed to Mike Meyers. That’s right—Mike Myers has a cameo. He plays the EMI executive Ray Foster. Though Myers’ screen time is brief, it was memorable.
The main criticism I’ve been gathering about this film is that there are major inaccuracies that were simply added as a means of making the movie dramatic. I must admit, I love Queen’s music but I didn’t know much about Freddie Mercury or any of the band members. Without much knowledge of the band, I genuinely enjoyed the story. Refusing to standby blissfully ignorant, I searched online for the main causes of frustration. This article highlights the two main concerns: the timing of Mercury’s HIV diagnosis, and portraying Mercury as a villain for quitting to make a solo album. Perhaps this is just a good reminder that even “true stories” in Hollywood are often, well, not the most truthful. I still recommend seeing this movie in theatres, but don’t walk away thinking the events portrayed are factual.
The most accurate fact highlighted in this movie was probably Freddie Mercury’s love of cats…
*If you’re interested in Bohemian Rhapsody, you may also enjoyA Star Is Born.