Stephen Merchant directs Fighting With My Family, a biopic telling the story WWE Smackdown Diva Champion Saraya-Jade Bevis, better known by her ring name Paige, originally known as Britani Knight in the World Association of Wrestling.
Saraya-Jade Bevis (Florence Pugh) is growing up in England with her wrestling parents, father Patrick “Rowdy Ricky” Knight (Nick Frost) and mother Julia “Sweet Saraya” Knight (Lena Headey), and her brother Zak “Zodiac” Knight (Jack Lowden) who dream of joining the World Wrestling Entertainment and leaving behind their small city league where many members look up to Zak. After a call from WWE recruiter Hutch Morgan (Vince Vaughn), they get an opportunity to try out and even get a chance meeting with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (himself).
After trying out, only Saraya is chosen and despite hesitant to leave without Zak, he encourages her to go to training in Florida where she takes the stage name “Paige.” While there, she feels like an outsider up against the other women who have been recruited to fight. Meanwhile, as the focus is put more on his sister, Zak continually grows further away from his family.
As for the performances, Dwayne Johnson, Vince Vaugh, and Nick Frost are at the top of their game, per usual. In fact, I wished for more Johnson, who also co-produced the movie. However, Florence Pugh is the breakout star. She truly shines as Paige and brings the character to fruition. Likewise, Women Of Wrestling star Tessa Blanchard performs well as her wrestling double.
This is a fun movie. From beginning to end, it gives the audience a thrill ride and an inside look into the world of professional wrestling. Do not be fooled, however, it is not just to get your jollies. The movie has a lot to say about success can have an impact on a family, but also forces to look beyond the surface. For instance, Paige is an outsider and as such, does not feel connected to the other women on her team. Instead of reaching out, she makes assumptions about her fellow trainees. Likewise, they make assumptions about their British rival.
Also, the emphasis on family is an excellent change of pace from the usual Hollywood drivel. Though Paige’s family is different, with a focus on wrestling as a way to express themselves, their unity and love for one another, though imperfect, is a special bond that brings them together.
My only complaint about the movie is it did not give us a whole lot of insight into Zak’s family. While Lowden performs the part with excellence, his own family is just simple background noise, making his motivations seem off-balance.
Bottom line, this is a fun film with lots to give, not just at an action level, but also in the side of values. While it is flawed at times, it is worth the watch and perfect for a date night indoors.
FAVORITE QUOTE: I myself have come from a wrestling family too. I know exactly what it means to you. But don’t worry about being the next me. Be the first you.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Foul language, Violence
Check out the trailer below:
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