It’s been a long time since a British comedy has offered that heart-warming stick it to the man, come from nothing comedy that has come to be expected. Think Billy Elliot or The Full Monty where someone from a lower economic background manages to make it in a world they don’t belong. But all the while making you laugh and cry on their journey. That is Fighting with My Family.
In Norwich England is Saraya (Florence Pugh), ever since she can remember her life has revolved around wrestling. She doesn’t have much happening in her life aside from the wrestling which her Brother, Mother and Father are all part of. Saraya enjoys the wrestling time she spends with her family which helps make a little extra cash, so the family can survive day to day.
With all the encouragement of her family Saraya and her brother Zak audition for the WWE only for Saraya to be accepted. Leaving her family behind Saraya struggles to find her place with the other WWE hopefuls. But with some motivation from Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Saraya aka Paige manages to enter the world of WWE and kicks some ass to get there.
Fighting with My Family is one of those films where you feel the highs and lows and end up enjoying it more than you thought you would. It’s relatable in a way that helps you realise you’re human and we all happen to go on these rides. But in the end, that struggle to get there was almost entirely worth it.
Playing Paige is Florence Pugh (Malevolent, Outlaw King, The Commuter) who manages to delve into a very specific mindset despite being in a completely fabricated world. Pugh manages to not only hold this persona of a hardened wrestler but also a really sensitive woman who despite being a little bit different just wants to be liked.
Playing Paige’s brother Zak is Jack Lowden (Mary Queen of Scots, Dunkirk, Calibre). Lowden nails the cocky brother that thinks he is made for the WWE. He has that big caring brother, but at the same time that I’m better than you vibe which makes his slip into depression a connection the viewer can feel.
Parents of the famous WWE star Paige are none other than Lena Headey (Game of Thrones, The Purge, 300: Rise of an Empire) as Julia. Playing the father Ricky is Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End). Both bring a wealth of depth to their characters despite their characters being almost unrealistic. It isn’t until the film ends and it shows some actual footage of the parents that you realise how spot on Heady and Frost nail their characters.
Dwayne The Rock Johnson makes several appearances playing himself. And while he plays it up a bit he brings nothing other than the familiar face and name to the film. Johnson is also a producer and invested a great deal of time to help make this film happen.
Fans new or old of the wrestling world will enjoy the story line. It’s a glimpse into the behind the scenes making of WWE. The people who enter and how these huge profiles are shot to stardom.
Pugh goes through the grilling training regime of not only the physical aspect but also the careful choreography. All together giving a very real though very staged storyline.
The film is very much a finding yourself drama. Struggling to find a place in the world where you only know a small part of it. And because part of this story is about being out of your comfort zone, it’s a great laugh along the way.
The comedy aspect is helped with the direction of comedic actor and Director, Stephen Merchant (The Office, Extras, Life’s Too Short). His quirky, awkward and honest humour stands out throughout the film. It gives what may have otherwise been a tad dry script the pep it needed.
Fighting with My Family has a great pace and doesn’t tend to hold onto bland story lines for too long. It’s one of the better qualities of the film, there’s not a point where it gets unrealistic, boring or just like any other dramedy.
Overall, Fighting with My Family is a funny heart-warming story. It sticks it to the man and shows how being different is sometimes all it takes to find your place in the world. You’ll get all the feels and have a laugh along the way. It’s a great insight into the world WWE and how wrestlers get shot to fame.
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