Cinema Snippets: I, Tonya & Lady Bird
I’ve seen so many films recently that I’m not keeping up with writing individual reviews for them all! So, similar to my snippet reviews of books I did a while ago, I’m going to write Cinema Snippets. I’ll include a couple of films in one post and give my brief thoughts about them, rather than a full review.
Today’s reviews are what I’m going to call the Strong Women Edition: Lady Bird and I, Tonya. I loved both of these films for completely different reasons! Here are my thoughts.
Based on the unbelievable but true events, I, TONYA is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan.
Featuring an iconic turn by Margot Robbie as the fiery Harding, a mustachioed Sebastian Stan as her impetuous ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, a tour-de-force performance from Allison Janney as her acid-tongued mother, LaVona Golden, and an original screenplay by Steven Rogers, Craig Gillespie’s I, TONYA is an absurd, irreverent, and piercing portrayal of Harding’s life and career in all of its glory.
Expectation: This is one I’ve been looking forward to for a while. The trailer looks SO good and I’m intrigued that it’s a true story. Margot Robbie looks like she’s playing a role like she’s never played before, and it’ll be great to see how versatile she is (plus I’m a fan of hers anyway). I’m looking forward to this! Expected Rating: 4 stars
Reality: I, Tonya was SUCH a good film! I thought it felt a bit long towards the end, but I can’t think of anything they could have cut out. Everything they included was important to the story and there was no ‘fluff’ to use as time filler.
I spent the whole film in disbelief that it’s an actual true story, because it all seemed too insane – but alas, everything is true. With true stories I like to research them afterwards to compare the film to real life, and with this one, literally all of the details are the same!
One thing I especially loved was the acting – as I expected, Margot Robbie was wonderful. All the acting was all incredible, and Allison Janney deserved to win all of the awards she won. The editing was great, too! I now wish I could go back and live through the whole Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan scandal, because it must have been so crazy to see on the news!
In Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig reveals herself to be a bold new cinematic voice with her directorial debut, excavating both the humor and pathos in the turbulent bond between a mother and her teenage daughter.
Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father (Tracy Letts) loses his job. Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.
Expectation: I think it’ll have that great indie film vibe that I love. I don’t know a great deal about the plot or who’s in it (apart from Saoirse Ronan) so I’ll almost be going in blind. It got crazy reviews and people are saying it’s amazing (it has about 98% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing these thoughts), so I think I might enjoy it! Expected Rating: 4 stars
Reality: I was definitely right about the indie film vibe – it did have it, and I did love it! Just the way it was written, the way it all looked – it felt very indie and I don’t know how else to explain it.
The cast were all amazing and it was funny to see Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet playing completely different roles in this after seeing them in Three Billboards and Call Me By Your Name, respectively. I’ve seen Saoirse Ronan in a few things but not really anything recently, so it was nice to have her back on the screen, too. (And she seems to be doing amazingly well from it!)
I loved the story, too. It focused on the development of 18-year-old Lady Bird and how she changed to try and fit in. I love good character development, so the fact that this was the primary focus of the film was great.
I thought the ending was oddly abrupt – she’s talking to her mum on the phone and it just ends. But I didn’t mind too much – it was just a bit of an odd ending!
What did you think of these two films? And let me know if you like these short snippet reviews – I’ve got another one coming soon (mostly just so I can catch up on reviewing the films I’ve seen).
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My Cineworld referral code: RAF-79BP-56QM-27WE-63AC
Enter this code in the promo code box when you register for your own Unlimited membership online. We’ll both receive one month’s free membership once you successfully pay for and complete your first 90 days of Unlimited membership. (If you see a lot of films, I can fully recommend it. You also get 10% off cinema snacks, 25% off certain restaurants, and other exclusive offers too!) Valid in the UK only.