Peripheral City

Peripheral City
Peri, played by Josh Elrod

Thursday, November 30, 2017

I, Tonya – Vindicating Abused Women Through Film (still a long way to go)

So, I saw I, Tonya tonight. What an amazing movie about an American punching bag – humanized and vindicated by a gorgeously talented version of herself played by bombshell talent, Margot Robbie (total win). But failed by everyone in her life, punished by white men (a judge, the press, heck – punished by all of America) for what abusive white men (husband, husband's best friend) did to her (lied, saying she knew about the Kerrigan attack, ruining her career), and now show-ponied up for all us pseudo-intellectuals to laugh and cry over all the way to the Oscars. While all these white men (screenwriters/studio) make money off her tragedy and fighter/rebel personality. And still kind of make fun of her at the same time, even as the movie itself vindicates her. I mean, I was surprised when the screenwriter seemed still somewhat superior in the way he spoke about her, as if we were laughing along with him about the circumstances and the people that populated her life – as if we were all in on the white trash joke, which maybe I could have been if it weren't for how much he capitalized on her tragedy. He told a full house that he got her life rights and only had to pay a "minimal fee" for usage. Her ex-husband, the numbskull that blew it all, was way more human about it than the writer himself, saying he wouldn't take a fee for ruining Tonya's life. AND MOST surprisingly because I don't think the screenwriter really understood that he penned the all-time empowering abused women banner movie, and then turned around and was kind of a douche by not paying her well enough for how well this movie is probably going to do. I think it's going to do really, really well

Maybe the lack of sensitivity and the lack of financial retribution to his subject leaves me feeling like it's just one more dude using an abused woman. Punching bag continued? Hmmm. Breaking ground? Bummer. I'm bitter. Boo hoo. Just some thoughts. God I LOVED the movie though. The story leaves me enraged that this happens to women far too often. It reminds me of that doc that came out last year, Amanda Knox, on Netflix, which revealed how Knox was warped by press and a few bad men (cops) who portrayed her as a killer, when all she was was a pretty young woman trying to be alive in the world. Enraged at how this can happen. And she was beautiful, not white trash, but a sexually liberated young woman, like Tonya and her funky outfits and unabashed poverty, again, bucking the norm, leaving her beauty and talents a target for male domination and reinterpretation. 

Side note: If it weren't for the ethically bizarre way in which Tonya is getting now financially used and abused once more by industry dudes, the movie really does deserve several Oscars. The actors are all spot on perfection. Allison Janney as the wicked stage mom has outdone herself. As did Margot Robbie as the awkward rebel Tonya, at ALL ages, total transformation. The guy actors played morally corrupt buffoonery sublimely. The movie structure itself took all of the things I loved about The Big Short, breaking the third wall, with actors talking directly into the lens in glib, sly humor, utilizing their tragic vulnerability as comedy, as they spoke to us in their own voices,  about their own warped perceptions, looking right into our eyes, again, in on the joke – but way better when coming from the characters. So now, how do we reconcile that this is a great piece of art with the, once again, the mistreatment of women, Tonya Harding as the stakes? She better be getting royalties is all I'm saying here. Compensation may not bring back all those years of not being able to pursue her passion, but I'm certain it would alleve the sting.

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