A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.
Based on the true story of WWE wrestler Paige, ‘Fighting with My Family’ is a ‘Brit Flick’ that matches a typical Hollywood story with a uniquely British style, and it’s one of the most purely entertaining films of the year to date. Telling the story of how a teenage girl from a family of wrestling enthusiasts in Norwich made it to the very top of the WWE, ‘Fighting with My Family’ is a really enjoyable movie bursting with charisma. It’s a rags to riches story in the vein of ‘Rocky’ but based on a true story, and ‘The Office’ co-creator Stephen Merchant does a good job of transferring Paige’s story to the big screen.
Saraya Knight (Florence Pugh) is a teenager from Norwich who is passionate about wrestling and organises amateur events in the Norwich area, along with her parents (Nick Frost and Lena Headey) and brother Zak (Jack Lowden). Saraya and Zak share a dream to become top WWE wrestlers and they get their chance to audition when the show rolls into the O2 in London for a big event, performing for Hutch (Vince Vaughn), a former wrestler turned coach. When Paige is selected to go on to the next stage in Florida and Zak isn’t, it causes a rift in the previously close siblings and the film follows both from this point. Florence Pugh is a star in the making (if she isn’t one already) and she’s terrific again, showing both the toughness and the vulnerability in Paige as she battles to succeed whilst fighting the loneliness of a life in a different country away from her close friends and family.
The performances are great across the board, with Nick Frost getting the biggest laughs as Paige and Zak’s dad, Vince Vaughn’s best role in a while as the tough coach who drives Paige on, but it’s Jack Lowden who really shines alongside Pugh. He plays a character who grows up side by side with Paige and shares the same ambitions, and his arc is equally as important to the film as Paige’s journey to the top, and I was rooting for him as much as for her. The film’s given me a new found respect for the skillset of wrestlers, whether they be the men and women at the top of the WWE or those scrapping for a living like the Knight family and their ragtag bunch of amateur competitors, and I thought it was thoroughly entertaining throughout, energetic, and mostly devoid of clichés. The biggest strength of ‘Fighting with My Family’ comes from the heart and humour the filmmakers have put into this rags to riches story, and the winning performances from the strong cast that bring the Knight family to life superbly.
Directed By: Stephen Merchant
Starring: Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Vince Vaughn, Dwayne Johnson, James Burrows, Zelina Vega, Big Show, Kim Matula and Stephen Merchant