Verdict: A worthy biopic that body slams you with humor and heart.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has over a dozen WWE Championship titles along with tons of successful movies under his belt. Taking on the role of executive producer, he is now stepping back into the ring for the movie Fighting With My Family that hits much closer to home. Written and directed by Stephen Merchant, the biopic tells the true story of the youngest WWE Divas Champion in history – Saraya “Paige” Bevis.
What’s Fighting With My Family About:
The Knights from England are your regular working-class family. Ricky (Nick Frost) and Julia (Lena Headey) are the proud parents of Saraya (Florence Pugh) and Zak (Jack Lowden) who all share a passion for wrestling. The tight-knit family gets life-changing news when both the kids are given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE. However, it is only Saraya “Britani” Knight who earns the spot while her brother Zak “Zodiac” Knight is forced to face rejection. A new chapter begins for the kids as Saraya changes her ring name and begins a grueling competitive training program in America while the dejected Zak welcomes his newborn son. Paige’s journey pushes her to fight hard in the cut-throat world of wrestling as she digs deep to prove to the world that she deserves to be a star.
In Fighting With My Family, writer-director Stephen Merchant does what he does best – deliver sharp wit with compelling characters. But that’s not all. The film is also a worthy biopic that has enough drama and narrative to give us just the right amount of heart. The real-life superstar Paige’s journey makes for the perfect feel-good story that packs the right punch when teamed with Merchant’s muscle for comedy and clever dialogues.
As Paige, Florence Pugh proves why she is a critic’s darling with her intricate portrayal of a hard-working underdog who is tempted to give up on her dreams. Paige’s never-back-down attitude comes out beautifully when paired with the tough situation that Jack Lowden’s Zak has to endure. They’re both imperfect and isolated and we come face-to-face with their frustration of not being enough. That’s when the film shifts from just being a cliched Cinderella story to a genuine representation of the journey to finding your own victory. Nick Frost and Lena Headey’s charming vulgarity as the Knight parents provides some comic relief. Dwayne Johnson’s cameos as himself are a welcome addition while Vince Vaughn’s tough love as Saraya’s coach Hutch is a driving force of the film.
Even though Fighting With My Family has all of this drama and comedy, it also stands as an engaging treat for hardcore WWE fans with well-choreographed wrestling and throwback montages. It is a fitting tribute to the world of WWE as well as a celebration of all the underdogs who can put up a fight for their passion.
What Could’ve Been Better:
This biographical drama tells us a truly compelling and inspiring real-life story but it also bounces off the ropes when it tends to get a bit formulaic.
Why You Should Watch:
Fighting With My Family is an inspiring biopic not only for WWE superfans but also for anyone who has ever wanted to achieve a seemingly unattainable goal. Saraya “Paige” Bevis’ story will leave you with a feeling of triumph.