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I, Tonya

Japanfan

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What I, Tonya does spectacularly well is portray a victim of abuse. The scenes of Tonya in her middle to late teens, buffeted by abuse from her mother and abuse from her boyfriend/husband, are particularly well done. Watching them, I wondered how could she not have been badly damaged from this. That said, the scenes leading up to and following the whack do not paint a sympathetic picture of her, except insofar as they concern her relations with her mother.
I agree with this.

As indicated at the start of the film, it focused on the difficulty of establishing 'truth'. That theme was explored by the different perspectives explored in the film.

As such, the film did not particularly take a sympathetic view - more a neutral view. It certainly did not take a 'poor Tonya' view and really was quite restrained in terms of showing sympathy for its major character.

And at the very end of the film, I think a full program of a Tonya program is shown in the corner of the film as the credits roll. Most of the audience is gathering their coats and leaving at this time. I did not watch the whole sequence, and neither did anyone else in the audience.

This was obviously intentional on the part of the producers and/or director. The message given IMO was while this was obviously an important moment to Tonya, it is a moment largely forgotten (as it has been in reality).

So as the film ends the audience doesn't admire Tonya's skating, but rather thinks about the legacy of abuse inflicted upon an individual.

This is the rare American movie that demands critical analysis from the viewer. If that isn't someone's cup of tea, so be it.[/QUOTE]

Again, I agree. The film does not inspire either love or hatred of Tonya.

You can hate Tonya all you want. You can hate that a film was made to 'glorify this person who did a bad thing' - but the story of abuse remains true.

What happens to a person when her mother, a person charged with loving and caring for her, does things like throw a knife at her? How does that mess with your self-esteem and your head?
 

allezfred

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It’s honestly one of the worst movies I saw last year.
The things you wrote were some of the reasons I didn’t enjoy this movie at all because despite the disclaimer that it was based on interviews with Jeff and Tonya, the movie really has succeeded in making people believe the parts you stated actually happened and think Tonya was only a sad soft-spoken victim who looked down when talking to people but was a bad ass girl who was vulgar in a harmless fun way that only tight-asses would be offended by as Robbie worked hard to make Tonya look like.

Beyond the depiction of Tonya and the skating world, I found the film one-note, shallow, and highly unoriginal borrowing elements from better films and too aware that people would be impressed with the fact they chose to do a bio pic in a non-Lifetime way. I also think it was a low quality film myself with bad CGI and third-rate dialogue and treated its characters and their backgrounds with obvious disdain and for laughs outside of Tonya but also tried to be a movie where we reevaluate our treatment of her and people like her at the same time. It tried to have its cake and eat it too. I also thought the entire cast as was directed to play these characters as shallow as possible outside of Robbie and Stan. Robbie is incredibly overrated in this film and only hits shallow emotional cues and has desperate scenes where she wants to show off her depth of acting like the mirror scene before the 1994 Olympics.

But I know my opinion is the minority, but I’ll go against the grain and tell you you can skip this movie and not miss anything. I thought the movie was quite awful even if the character wasn’t Tonya but someone else.
Tell us how you really feel! :lol:

I think your personal opinion of Harding is clouding your judgement of the film, but hey ho these things happen to the best of us. ;)
 

olympic

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I'm saying this objectively, neither as a big fan or detractor, but I think Tonya has won the war:

Over 20 years after the "whack heard 'round the world", and Tonya was dishonorably discharged from the skating world, Tonya had an award-winning movie made about her life on the big screen which shows Tonya from her POV. She has dressed up and attended award ceremonies re said movie w/ Margot Robbie and Allison Janney. She has been on all the big talk shows and never really been challenged like she has been in past interviews, done her way, and she has a gig on DWTS.

I think Tonya has been searching for positive fame and gotten it.

At the same time, the top US ladies for her nemesis, the USFSA are experiencing the worst drought on the international stage ever. I honestly don't have any emotions one way or another, but it is hugely ironic.
 

VIETgrlTerifa

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Tell us how you really feel! :lol:

I think your personal opinion of Harding is clouding your judgement of the film, but hey ho these things happen to the best of us. ;)
I like to think of myself as somebody who can evaluate a film on its merits and I simply wasn't very impressed with it. I posted a more involved review earlier in this thread:

https://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/threads/i-tonya.101808/post-5263202

I'm saying this objectively, neither as a big fan or detractor, but I think Tonya has won the war.
There's no war. Tonya living her life, making a living, and enjoying having fans/supporters as she always had done, and the USFS is still the member org sending skaters to international competition on behalf of American skaters for the ISU. Time will keep moving for both and both will experience future ups and downs barring another scandal from either.
 

olympic

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There's no war. Tonya living her life, making a living, and enjoying having fans/supporters as she always had done, and the USFS is still the member org sending skaters to international competition on behalf of American skaters for the ISU. Time will keep moving for both and both will experience future ups and downs barring another scandal from either.
I think in Tonya's mind, there was a war. She didn't seem the type to let things go and move on, or at least did not learn to do so until recently. She seems happier these days.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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Tell us how you really feel! :lol:

I think your personal opinion of Harding is clouding your judgement of the film, but hey ho these things happen to the best of us. ;)
I SO AGREE! I LOVEEEEEEE @VIETgrlTerifa but I think her negative feelings (and rightfully so) are clouting maybe her opinion of the film. I am not a Harding supporter but I thought the film was excellent, and finally after seeing 3 billboards I thought perhaps the Oscar should have gone to Robbie.

Robbie became the abused child and woman and an Oly athlete. I saw this character and I didnt see Robbie in the film. McDormand was rather one dimensional in 3 billboards. I didnt see all that many layers. Good but I think Robbie pulled off more including learning how to figure skate.

I think we can all say Harding's claim of "we were just gonna snd threatening letters" is NOT the truth. But after decades people do start believing their own lies.
 

Vagabond

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I like to think of myself as somebody who can evaluate a film on its merits and I simply wasn't very impressed with it. I posted a more involved review earlier in this thread:

https://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/threads/i-tonya.101808/post-5263202
I lurves ya, VgT, but that "more involved review" suggests that you missed the whole point of the movie. The movie presents Tonya Harding as someone who started as an innocent victim of abuse who then made a very wrong turn and is either unable or willing to recognize her own responsibility for her own downfall or the harm she has done to others -- which makes the Jeff Gillooly character's remarks close to the end all the more astonishing.
 

bardtoob

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This is a very good point. And I sometimes think Tonya keeps changing or adding to the story to find a lie she can really believe in.
1) This is totally true

2) Frequently retold stories always evolve with time because people:
- forget
- exaggerate
- fill in the blanks with what seems to make sense but is just speculation, not known fact
- etc.
 

Erin

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Not to defend Harding, but isn't the story change to threatening letters Jeff's story change and not hers? Harding still maintains no involvement at all, except for the recent claim that she overheard something suspicious prior to the attack (in which case, I would say she should have reported it and does not help her cause to claim lack of involvement pre-attack).
 

VIETgrlTerifa

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I lurves ya, VgT, but that "more involved review" suggests that you missed the whole point of the movie. The movie presents Tonya Harding as someone who started as an innocent victim of abuse who then made a very wrong turn and is either unable or willing to recognize her own responsibility for her own downfall or the harm she has done to others -- which makes the Jeff Gillooly character's remarks close to the end all the more astonishing.
That's a valid point, but believe me, as a movie fan who takes them way too seriously, I thought about this movie in so many angles and so many ways and this is the conclusion I've come up with. I even watched it twice. Once in the theatre and once in another way.
 

skateboy

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Not to defend Harding, but isn't the story change to threatening letters Jeff's story change and not hers? Harding still maintains no involvement at all, except for the recent claim that she overheard something suspicious prior to the attack (in which case, I would say she should have reported it and does not help her cause to claim lack of involvement pre-attack).
Sorry if this has already been mentioned, but it seems to me that the one person who could come forward and help make, at least, a little sense of all this is Shane Stant.

The movie would have us believe that Shawn Eckhardt hired Shane for the attack, without Jeff or Tonya's knowledge. Has Shane ever addressed this?

FWIW, I did find this: https://www.insideedition.com/nancy...t-admits-he-was-surprised-he-was-caught-39966
 
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bardtoob

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The ending remarks from I, Tonya by the character Jeff made me think he was some how going to intentionally ruin her life if she ever thought she was too good for him or left him . . . and, years later, the character Jeff realized how messed up that was because he did not take into account the immense talent he was trying to derail.
 
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Shane Stant can just come forward with information that Jeff was at the meetings where they discussed The Whack and blow his lame letter story out of the water. I believe, however, he told Inside Edition the movie was accurate. So, who knows.
 
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Japanfan

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I disagree with the notion that people dislike the movie because they are unable to meet the demands of a film that asks the viewer to critically think. I do agree with Aerobicidal that "Of course, different viewers will get different things from the movie. I also didn't think it was a good movie. I guess my point is the level of sympathy for Tonya is ambiguous, or at least arguable."
So you would prefer a film with no sympathy whatsoever (given that ambiguous/arguable sympathy is too much)? I find that extremely harsh TBH, and it brings me right back to Blame Tonya.
 
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Not to defend Harding, but isn't the story change to threatening letters Jeff's story change and not hers? Harding still maintains no involvement at all, except for the recent claim that she overheard something suspicious prior to the attack (in which case, I would say she should have reported it and does not help her cause to claim lack of involvement pre-attack).
The writer once mentioned in an interview that most of the second half of the movie is from Jeff’s POV.
 

VIETgrlTerifa

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So you would prefer a film with no sympathy whatsoever (given that ambiguous/arguable sympathy is too much)? I find that extremely harsh TBH, and it brings me right back to Blame Tonya.
That’s a simplistic take on what I said. This has turned into an uber thread for the movie of sorts. At least with your response you are not denying the big sympathy play the movie was having like some other fans of the movie have been trying to argue.
 

jlai

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like any kind of art, people can come away with so many interpretations. It is kinda like the Hallelujah song. Some people say it is about religion or sex or loneliness...so I guess viewers can see a lot of sympathy in the movie and some less so.
 
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That’s a simplistic take on what I said. This has turned into an uber thread for the movie of sorts. At least with your response you are not denying the big sympathy play the movie was having like some other fans of the movie have been trying to argue.
So you agreed with me when I said "the level of sympathy for Tonya is ambiguous, or at least arguable" but also posted that the movie was "a big sympathy play" and criticized fans of the movie for denying that as if were something objectively true about the movie.

I'm not trying to be the consistency police, but I guess I'm getting the same impression as Allezfred that your level of investment in Tonya seems a little bit intense. Which, like he said, is fine. It's just confusing in a non-Shibutanis context.
 

VIETgrlTerifa

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So you agreed with me when I said "the level of sympathy for Tonya is ambiguous, or at least arguable" but also posted that the movie was "a big sympathy play" and criticized fans of the movie for denying that as if were something objectively true about the movie.

I'm not trying to be the consistency police, but I guess I'm getting the same impression as Allezfred that your level of investment in Tonya seems a little bit intense. Which, like he said, is fine. It's just confusing in a non-Shibutanis context.

My level of investment in this and the other thread lately has become a bit intense for reasons that are beyond Tonya. It's because people keep responding to and quoting my posts, so I feel like I should be able to respond when I feel some are mischaracterizing what I've actually said. I don't know if it is to paint me as one of those people who you and others are laughing at because they happened to post about Tonya in a way that you find funny or my lack of clarity in my posts, but it seems that I have become sort of the punching bag here as is clear with your jab about my intensity in the "Shibutanis context".

Anyway, regarding your first point, I agree with the idea that the "level of sympathy for Tonya is ambiguous or at least arguable" meaning that one can argue about the level of sympathy and I think people can be projecting when they see the film's level of sympathy. My take on it is that the film really played up Tonya's sympathy, while other people said they felt the film did not by the time the whack situation was happening. I latched on to Japanfan's post because her post only works if we agree that the film did indeed attempted to invoke sympathy for Tonya. I admit I may have been eager to do so because people have been sort of busy telling me, specifically, how I should feel about the film, how I should watch the film, why I'm simply wrong for having my take on the film, that I failed to critically think about the film, etc. in a way that is basically explaining how to watch a movie as if I never seen a movie before in my life.
 

berthesghost

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Bio-pics are inherently sympathetic. Even well made ones like “in cold blood” or “monster” that don’t rewrite history to make their subject seem a saint, tell the story from a sympathetic angle. Only crazy fringe films made for purely political reason tell someone’s story from a 100% negative angle.

I don’t get why people are arguing if “I, Tonya” was 47.8% sympathetic vs. 55.7% sympathetic, other than its FSU, it’s the off season, and by page 81 we’ve each given our opinion of the movie about 6 times already :lol:
 

LarrySK8

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this overrated English Patient train wreck of a movie, which gets really dull half way in as it is entirely one note, shallow and poorly made as you described.
Exactly!!! I brought up this point at the beginning of the thread - that the film is based on, "The Tonya Tapes." The critique you give of the film is also a summary of the literary criticisms of that book - that it was poorly written, etc.

A movie based so closely on craptastic source material will be .... craptastic. The only way to turn "The Tonya Tapes" into a film that would make any audience or money had to go the "dark comedy" route, as no one would believe the story as presented in the source material. It is a character study of multiple STUPID people - Tonya, Jeff, Shaun, Shane and even LaVonna - who was probably the smartest of the whole bunch.
 

Japanfan

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Anyway, regarding your first point, I agree with the idea that the "level of sympathy for Tonya is ambiguous or at least arguable" meaning that one can argue about the level of sympathy and I think people can be projecting when they see the film's level of sympathy. My take on it is that the film really played up Tonya's sympathy, while other people said they felt the film did not by the time the whack situation was happening. I latched on to Japanfan's post because her post only works if we agree that the film did indeed attempted to invoke sympathy for Tonya.
I agree that it did intend to "invoke sympathy", but not that it "really played up sympathy". It was more of a character study of a person who doesn't really fit in and is dealing with multiple challenges, including a history of abuse and coping with the highly competitive world of FS.

I would say the film sought understanding and perspective, rather than sympathy.
 

Per

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I think skaters and hardcore skating fans are probably the people that can most easily dislike the movie, because of the hang-ups of what is factual, what is made up etc. It's not that strange though. I am a classical pianist by profession, and 99% of movies where classical musicians are a big part, because things are SO "not like they are in real life", I simply can't really take it in. I should ignore it, and focus on the real story but I can't. Like when musicians are just running around doing anything but practicing, when that is basically all you have to do, all the time. Pisses me off.

This story is so detached from me though, I don't care about it so I can appreciate I Tonya just being a really good movie with excellent actors.
 

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