Does New Movie Try to Recast Tonya Harding as I, Victim

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There is a new movie hitting the big screen in selected cities this weekend with a wider screening planned for mid-January. While the holiday season is a prime time to introduce movies, this one seeks to put a different spin on a sad and shameful tale from Olympic history. The movie, titled, I, Tonya is attempting to put a kinder and somewhat humorous spin on the story of lost chances.

The movie is described from the outset as a satirical look at the sad story of Tonya Harding’s upbringing. It uses interviews and direct comments to the camera to tell its rather campy tale of sordid poverty and abusive relationships. It takes the characters involved and attempts to portray them in a softer light. While it doesn’t outright try to show Tonya in a positive light, it does make an effort to give the viewer a glimpse into the events that may have helped shape Tonya into the person she became.

One point that Harding seemed to question multiple times is why her life and story couldn’t just be about her passion; figure skating. However, in her life, there was so much distraction and complications that it was never truly about just skating. The movie also stops short of revealing just how much of a role Harding played in the attack on Kerrigan. It does make a point of mocking the ex-husband and body guard and their sad but laughable effort to actually try to pull-off the malicious attack on the rival skater.

The fact that Harding even reached the levels that she did is a surprising and inspiring tale. She came from a school of hard knocks where she learned that her mother would always try to diminish her skills and ability and she landed in a bad marriage where the abuse and manipulation continued. In spite of her difficulties, she managed to excel at the sport that favors the petite and well-bred athlete who seems to embody wealth and privilege.

Tonya often lamented how she never garnered the respect and admiration that her talent and abilities would normally inspire in those who are experts in the sport. She brought her own personality and style to her performances including sewing her own costumes and choosing non-traditional music and choreography for her competition pieces. She rose to the highest levels of competition and was selected to represent her country in the coveted Olympics. Sadly, it all fell apart when the pressure mounted and doubts took over.

The movie may take its jabs and have fun with making this former Olympic athlete the butt of its satire, but overall, the film actually does allow viewers an opportunity to glimpse some of the life experiences that took the dreams and aspirations of a once talented skater and turned her into the villain behind the infamous “Incident” that will forever taint the figure skating world. Through it all, there is one fact that no movie will ever diminish – it was an underdog young girl who first landed the triple axel in women’s figure skating.

Writer Bio:  Angela Mose

I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years.  I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia.  A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.

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