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Film Review: Fighting with My Family (2019)

Fighting with My Family (2019) is a WWE wrestling bio-pic about Paige, the female wrestler that managed to gain popularity for the sport, particularly for women. Directed by Stephen Merchant, this film focuses on Paige, and she alongside her brother try out to become a part of the WWE roster and move out of their small wrestling community in Norwich. Florence Pugh stars as Paige, and this film is a WWE production with major help from WWE and huge Hollywood star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Fighting with My Family (2019) – source: Lionsgate
This was a film that I was not expecting to go in and check out. I felt that the trailers felt cliched and stereotypical to the genre of film that this film is. However, with a fantastic Rotten Tomatoes score and rave reviews from people that I trust, I figured that I should give this film a try. Whilst it knows the genre that it is and keeps safe in those boundaries, this film actually surprised me on how smart it was.
Florence Pugh is blossoming and is clearly going to become a star within the next year. She shows in this film that she can handle different emotions and play a complex character, such as Paige. You believe that she could nail someone down to the ground, but you can also believe that she could get hit and pushed back over and over again, just as she is in this film. All of the cast do a great job in this film, including the cameos of director Stephen Merchant and producer Dwayne Johnson.
The title in itself is very clever and leaves you wondering what way they are going to take this film. This film could have easily been heavily focused on either the WWE journey, or the family aspect of the story. Stephen Merchant manages to find a nice balance between both stories, and neither of them feels less important than the other. The characters on both sides are also well realised, making both situations feel real and fully developed.
Fighting with My Family (2019) – source: Lionsgate
One other aspect that I enjoyed about this film in particular is how grounded the film feels. It doesn’t feel like the film has been completely glamourised or turned into Hollywood, particularly when we go back to the town of Norwich. It is refreshing to see the real world reflected in cinema, and this film can get dark and gritty when it wants to. This is when the movie shines overall.
Unfortunately, this film does easily falls into it’s cliches. It does get very cheesy at times, particularly at the scenes that deal with the WWE aspect. I found having the competitors to be these gorgeous models was an interesting take, but I am not sure on the decision to make them work alongside Paige and suddenly be friends and good wrestlers. I would have personally preferred something that feels more real and gritty, perhaps showing how it’s not all friendly in the competition.
I also was not a big fan of the final battle that Paige has to enter. It was a great choice to have that pivotal fight as the final moment of the film, but they try to make it look like her own destiny. This is hypocritical, as the film addresses the fact that the WWE is purely scripted and planned from the start. Having it seem like she chose to defeat her opponent seems like false advertisement of not only the sport, but that real moment that the real Paige went through.
Fighting with My Family (2019) – source: Lionsgate
Overall, I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. Yes, this film is filled with stereotypes and cliches, but I feel like it had to. I went into this film, like many people will have, not knowing much about the WWE world. Whilst I am not going to go out of my way and watch WWE any time soon, I feel like this film was very entertaining and anyone, sports fan or not, would be able to enjoy this film.

Have you seen Fighting with My Family yet? What did you think of it? Has it made you want to check out some live WWE fighting? Comment down below and let’s have a discussion going on.

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