Fighting with My Family

Written and directed by English comedian and actor Stephen Merchant in his directorial debut, Fighting with My Family is a surprisingly endearing comedy drama based on the true story of a young British woman growing up in a family obsessed with wrestling who successfully makes her way through the tryouts for the WWE. We first meet the protagonist Saraya who later goes by the stage name Paige, terrifically played by Florence Pugh, as a young girl who fights with her brother Zak, played by Jack Lowden, in their parents’ small-time wrestling circuit in Norwich, England. As a result of their wrestling obsession and punk appearance, the family is often made fun of outside of the wrestling world and is led by the unusual yet loving parents Patrick, played by the always funny Nick Frost, and Julia Bevis, played by Lena Headey best known for her role in Game of Thrones. Eventually, the siblings get to participate in the London tryouts for the WWE at the invitation of the WWE trainer Hutch Morgan, played by Vince Vaughn, but Paige is the only one picked to go to Orlando, Florida to train in the NXT development program for the WWE. She has very mixed emotions because her beloved brother who she has always worked with is overlooked by the WWE. In somewhat typical sports movie fashion, we see Paige struggling in a series of training montages, and, at one point, she threatens to quit before she is encouraged by her family to pursue her lifelong dream. For a while, Zak is deeply depressed about not having a chance like his sister in the most popular wrestling circuit and begins to drink even though he has a new wife and a young baby at home. Over the course of the movie, Dwayne Johnson who started his career in the WWE as The Rock appears randomly and gives Paige advice about how to succeed in the wrestling world. Overall, I found it to be a terrific uplifting film that effectively presents another side of the WWE in which it is like any other sport or form of entertainment that helps bring families together. It is much more than a wrestling movie; at its heart, it is a beautiful story of family and the pursuit of dreams even when it is extremely hard to accomplish.

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