WARNING: There are SPOILERS ahead for I, Tonya. So if you’ve not seen the black comedy sports biopic you should wait until you have, then return to read the below.
I, Tonya is a celebration of the resilience of women. Margot Robbie admitted as much when I sat down to speak with her about the film last month.
No more is this apparent than in its final scene, which shows Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) in a boxing match, a profession she took up between 2003 and 2004. She held a record of three victories and three losses in six encounters, and the concluding shot of “I, Tonya” showed Harding rising from the canvas after taking a particularly brutal punch to the face.
During my discussion with Robbie she admitted, “That’s exactly why we had that last scene,” to show that Harding once again was able to rise to her feet, despite being banned for life from U.S. Figure Skating.
This visual metaphor was so perfect that they even threw out the original conclusion planned.
“In real life, Tonya’s ending to her story thus far is that she met a new guy, got a new husband, who treats her well and doesn’t abuse her, and had a son. And she has found solace in that way. That’s the ending of the story that we thought we were meant to tell. And we filmed it.”
“But it didn’t feel satisfying for the Tonya character that we had just gone on this journey with. What really stood out to us was her resilience. Was that no matter how many times she got knocked down she got back up again. And you could kick her down again, and that she just kept backing up again.”
“That felt true to me. That felt like the character we had seen. Then we shot the boxing scene, because she did later become a boxer. Exactly the symbolism there is that she gets knocked down but gets back up again.”
It clearly resonated with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, because “I, Tonya” was recently nominated for three Golden Globes, in the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actress – Comedy or Musical (Margot Robbie), and Best Supporting Actress (Allison Janney) categories.
You can expect plenty more nominations for the film and its two actresses over the course of the film awards season, too.