I haven’t seen The Disaster Artist, so I can’t comment on that one. But I do mostly agree with you about I, Tonya. I mean, I do understand why they’d show Tonya’s victimization at earlier stages of her life. I know it’s hard sometimes for people to acknowledge this, but abusive and violent people are often victims themselves. From a storytelling standpoint, I think it’s pretty important to share that side of the story with the audience because it A) reinforces the character’s humanity and B) helps explain the evolution of that character and, in this particular case, how they became the “bad girl.”
That being said, it was extremely bizarre for me to see just how much effort the film put into generating sympathy for Harding. I’m old enough to remember that whole incident. I remember the information that came out about it later (much of which you’ve cited here). And to me it felt like the writers were more focused on trying to excuse Harding’s actions rather than explain them. That sort of tactic doesn’t always sit well with audiences, as you yourself noted in this piece. I’m of the opinion that it’s usually better to let the audience make those types of moral judgments for themselves unless the explicit purpose of the film is to preach to a receptive audience.
Oh, and I also agree with you about Margot Robbie. Personally, I think she’s a very underrated actress; a lot of guys I know think she’s only a star because she’s attractive, but I think she has some serious acting skills. Nevertheless, I didn’t think she was great in this movie. She certainly wasn’t bad, but she’s had better performances.