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Harding’s childhood, life subject of film

Adrienne Oliva, Editor in Chief

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My first look at “I, Tonya” was in the form of an ad on Instagram. I was immediately drawn to the film- it looked like an edgy comedy based around the story of defamed figure skater Tonya Harding. The ad included Harding as a child flipping off a competitor and an adult Harding telling a competition judge to “suck my d**k.”

I went into the movie for a laugh. And though I did chuckle at times, it was not because the film was innately funny, it was because the film was finding a way to make light of the actually quite tragic life of Harding.

The movie was less about a quirky figure skater who got caught up in a scandal, and more about how Harding was continually abused all her life by her mother, her ex-husband and the American people as a whole.

For those are unfamiliar with Harding, she is famous mainly for two things: first, being the first American woman to successfully attempt and complete a triple axel, an extremely hard figure skating maneuver, and second, being wrapped up with a crime that took over the 24/7 news cycle in 1994.

Harding was accused of being involved with a crime that harmed one of her competitors, Nancy Kerrigan. Kerrigan was hit in the knee by a man, rendering her unable to skate. Harding was accused of orchestrating the attack, and was eventually convicted for the attack and banned from skating competitively.

The movie follows the life of Harding from her experiences as a child all the way up to her life after she was banned from competing as a figure skater for the rest of her life.

Though Harding was painted as a villain through the controversial affair, after leaving “I, Tonya,” you will most likely feel nothing but sympathy for Harding.

In the movie, you can see that Harding, played my Margot Robbie, was abused by everyone around her. Her mother, played by Allison Janney, showed her no love to Harding and continually told her she was never enough. The abuse from her mother wasn’t only verbal. For example, her mother was caught beating her with a hair brush in the bathroom of a skating rink by another skater.

Her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, played by Sebastian Stan, continually beat her, as well. He also caused the downfall of her career. Gillooly was one of the people who knew about the knee attack, while Harding did not. Despite this, Harding was still the one who received the brunt of the consequences of the attack.

One of the most powerful scenes in the mock-documentary style movie was when Harding looked toward the camera and explained that it was the American people who also abused her by how she was treated by them throughout the affair.

I highly suggest seeing this film, but just know that the movie is not as humorous as it seems, and you will most likely leave the theater wanting to tell everyone you know, “What happened to Tonya was so unfair!”

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Harding’s childhood, life subject of film