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Reviews

Review: Fighting With My Family

February 28, 2019

A light-hearted feel-good comedy about one of the most accomplished female wrestlers, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson making a guest appearance, what’s not to like?

The story

Fighting With My Family tells the real-life story of professional wrestler Paige (Florence Pugh) and her journey from wrestling locally in Norwich to wrestling in the biggest professional wrestling organisation in the world: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The film was written & directed by Stephen Merchant (The Office, Ricky Gervais Show) & was produced by everyone’s favourite pro-wrestler turned Hollywood superstar, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who also plays a supporting role in the film.

Paige’s entrance into the WWE also marked the start of the “Diva’s Revolution“, a period in which women wrestling became more prominent within the company. This saw a move away from female wrestlers simply being seen as eye candy or only playing a supporting role, to being seen as true athletes, on par with their male counterparts.

Family first

A clear strength from the outset is the bond between Paige and her family. Coming from a wrestling family, who run a small independent wrestling promotion, all the quirks of this close-knit family are on full display. And the inside jokes between family members and genuine moments of affection really serve as the anchor for the film. Another positive is the casting selection, particularly of the immediate family: mum, Julia (Lena Headey); dad, Ricky (Nick Forst); and brother, Zak (Jack Lowden) all fit perfectly into their respective roles.

Expectations

Despite clocking in at nearly two hours, the film never feels sluggish. Writer / director, Stephen Merchant, does a great job of conveying the key parts of Paige’s journey and maintaining good pacing throughout the film. However, don’t expect much in the way of unexpected plot twists. What you see from the outset is very much what you get with this film.

Those who follow the WWE will also be treated to some cameos from active WWE wrestlers. While the 2008 Micky Rouke-led film The Wrestler was darker and bitter-sweet in tone, Fighting With My Family’s style of comedy feels right at home with this rags-to-riches story.

Final verdict

Great biopics about our favourite sporting superstars can often transcend simply attracting fans of the sporting discipline itself. Fighting With My Family does this and will find a home with anyone who loves a great coming of age story – whether you’re a wrestling fan or not. Fighting With My Family is a well-crafted film full of laughter. The British feel-good film of the year (so far).

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Fighting With My Family Trailer (MGM)
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