First image: I, Tonya (2017) Second image: Kate Plays Christine (2016) ...too long to post the full thing here, but my review of I, Tonya is up in my letterboxd now. ⛸ ----- "I, Tonya (2017) heralds in a new trend in filmmaking. One that feels challenging, fresh, and unapologetically creates obstacles for the viewer. I don't think my generation is content with passively watching films and standard plot lines, anymore. How can anyone be after constantly given stimulation (good and bad) and the illusion of "choice" (from the choose-your-own-adventure books that marked my youth in the '90s to the constant scrolling through apps if we are displeased with the content) ...we want instant gratification and the appearance of agency. Even if that means discomfort.
In what I consider the apex of the film, Margot Robbie's manifestation of Tonya Harding directly addresses the viewer and cites us as destroying her for using Tonya as an antiquated relic of '90s pop culture and for even coming to see this film. There is no such thing as Truth. This is a concept that I am thinking about for my own art practice at all times. American pop culture, nostalgia, the Real versus the unreal, non-compliance with accepted societal standards, class barriers. I, Tonya touches upon all of these.
This breaking of the fourth wall is always jarring, even when scattered throughout a script, and arguably the point of even creating art in this era–holding up a mirror to ourselves, deconstructing the way we consume culture, criticizing ourselves for making a spectacle out of someone else's pain. Another contemporary film that I think does an excellent job of this is Robert Greene's Kate Plays Christine (2016) ...in which the main actress addresses the viewer in a moment of high-tension and asks why we are waiting at the edge of our seat to see the re-enactment of a gruesome suicide.
I, Tonya's dark humor, notable emotional breadth from the actors, and well-curated soundtrack worked in tandem to keep my attention throughout..."