I'm from that poorer background myself but I don't want representation of such for the sake of it in spite of the actions and lack of follow through by the...protagonist...antagonist? I'm not even sure how to properly label her character role. Besides, there are far greater choices for representation of the poor. In fact, far too much of the poor's media representation is held by those of less than reputable character.
And yes the media certainly gave Kerrigan all the positive attention and Harding all the negative attention. But I can't use that as atonement by proxy. Again, had Harding shown any contrition for conspiring to end a fellow skater's career, we'd be having a very different conversation. Further, I think it would have made a far more compelling story had she made amends. Instead, it appears her only regret was getting caught. She's never apologized to Kerrigan.
You express confusion about whether Tonya Harding should be labeled a protagonist or an antagonist. You're not supposed to necessarily label her either way, but rather just human. Hence the relativist implication of the title's cultural reference.
Incidentally you're wrong: she has formally apologized to Nancy Kerrigan to her face on national television in 1998. It was awkward and a little disingenuous, being as she never admitted, even in her formal apology, to any role in the planning of the attack (just to knowing it was to happen and failing to report that knowledge), but still, it is more than you're acknowledging here.
My opinion in that you're right: she is really only sorry that she got caught (to the extent that she did). There's nothing justifiable about that. But you seem very fixated on whether or not the attack was right or wrong when that's just not the point of the film. The point of the film is that Tonya Harding is not this one-dimensional caricature we grew up hearing about.
For me, the shortcomings of this movie are not thematic, but technical. Were it all up to me, I'd have preferred a delivery that featured more subtlety here and there, perhaps more often approximately recreating intimate and emotionally nuanced conversations more often rather than fixating almost exclusively on the most dramatic events. Fixating on dramatic events more than building up to them is something I find that male directors often do and I feel that it usually removes some of their emotional heft. Despite what I feel are its limits though, Craig Gillespie's direction ultimately proved to be more effective than I at first thought. When some of the most defining moments arrived late the movie, it suddenly hit me how emotionally invested I had become in Tonya Harding's fate without even previously realizing it!
There is a point late in the film wherein Margot Robbie, in her role as Tonya Harding, condemns the audience at some length. That moment concentrated the essential point of the movie: that her whole life was basically one gigantic abusive relationship, first with individuals and then with the world. That moment was genius! I felt the weight of it, realizing that indeed that has to be how Harding feels about her life. That's something that not many filmmakers would have done and it made me appreciate the sincerity of Gillespie's effort. I gather that you didn't appreciate it much. Maybe one has to have been through such a relationship to be able to fully import the pain contained therein.
Another example comes just before the credits roll when we discover that Harding has become a boxer and has indeed been doing any and every ridiculous, degrading thing possible to sustain public interest in her since being banned for life from professional figure skating, possessing not even a high school degree. In this moment, she reflects on her life and articulates what for her is the necessary belief that "there's no truth" and that "my whole life is violence anyway". This was another moment when I began to realize how much the movie had affected my outlook without realizing it up to that point because I felt the weight of those words coming, believably, from her, reflecting the psychological toll that had been taken on her: the sense of paranoia and masochism. And then she gets knocked down and stays down a while while the music drops, almost like she might understandably just die then and there and have that be the end before finally regaining her normal, bitchy resolve to truck on, come what may. And then the credits begin to roll as a female-voiced rendition of Iggy Pop's grunge song (one I remember very nostalgically) The Passenger begins to play to images of her skating and that's when it all really hit me. I actually cried. I hadn't come to feel that "the incident", as it's referred to, was okay or anything (the movie hadn't intended for me to either), but I hadn't realized up to that point who Tonya Harding actually was and now I did and yeah, felt kind of sorry for her. I don't think it's wrong to have that complex feeling, is it? I mean it's the whole point of the movie really.
That's the wisdom of Gillespie's direction here: it's impact sneaks up on you. I would score I, Tonya a solid 8/10, personally.
Last edited by Jaicee - on 26 June 2018