Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Fighting With My Family ★★★★☆

‘Fighting With My Family’ documents the story of a Norwich-based wrestling family and the children’s journey as they aim for WWE. Ricky (Nick Frost) and Julia (Lena Headey) have a passion for wrestling which has been instilled into their children Saraya (Florence Pugh) and Zak (Jack Lowden). After a promo video is positively received by WWE, the pair find themselves competing to get on the list, although all doesn’t end well when only Saraya, stage name Paige, is chosen. Finding herself in America, Paige is thrown into the pressures of potential stardom, while at home Zak is struggling to come to terms with his perceived failure, affecting everyone else around him.

I’ll admit that I pretty much have no interest in wrestling (apart from my bizarre and short-lived WWE obsession during the year 2009, but we don’t talk about that), but really enjoyed ‘Fighting With My Family’. It’s a gripping story, and gives the viewer an interesting insight into the world of professional wrestling but also highlights some of the inequalities and issues that have taken place. It’s hard not to love the Knight family despite their very apparent downfalls (there’s a hilarious dinner table scene in which the family invite the rather posh parents, played by Steven Merchant and ACTRESS, of Zak’s girlfriend round for takeaway, where the differences in British class couldn’t be more obvious) and because of this you get completely sucked in.

I was also really impressed by the acting – there are some very well-known actors in there, such as Nick Frost and Vince Vaughn, who plays tough-nut wrestling coach Hutch, and of course, Dwayne Johnson who plays, well, himself (probably not his hardest role ever, but he does it well). The real stars are the more up and coming actors and actresses such as Pugh and Lowden, who give incredibly believable performances from start to finish, in particular during the more emotional scenes of the film. It’s got that grittiness that I love about British film, but also that sense of humour that’ll have you laughing out loud in parts and cringing away from the screen from awkwardness in others.

There was only one issue I had with the film which was that it was quite over-simplified compared to the full story of the family – so much was missed from Paige’s wrestling career prior to her WWE venture. I guess the film would have been way too long had it been included, but it would have interesting to have found out more about that side of things.

You generally know if a “based on a true story” film is good if you end up researching the characters afterwards, which is exactly what I did. Being fairly local to Norwich it was great to hear about an underdog story from so nearby, and in general, the film was entertaining, giving the right balance of comedy and seriousness. I wouldn’t say it’s instilled a passion from wrestling within me, but it was certainly a good two hours well spent and I’d recommend for any fans of British film that love to see the underdog turn things around and come out on top, even with so many barriers in their way. 

Hannah Read

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