Fighting with My Family
Fighting with My Family is the real story of a Norwich family obsessed with all things wrestling who made the news when Paige, the daughter, became the youngest winner of the WWE Divas Championship. While in the hands of a lesser writer/director this subject matter could have been riddled with clichés and cheap jokes, it was luckily saved from this fate by Stephen Merchant.
The British filmmaker manages to find the obvious fish-out-of-water comedy in the tale but also captures the emotional journey this misfit family went through. Whether it be Paige (Florence Pugh) struggling to fit in with the glamorous American models who surround her or her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) and his struggle to cope with his sister achieving his lifelong dream, the film manages to balance every laugh with a tear.
It’s the cast who manage to bring this script to life, with the unlikely yet beautiful pairing of Nick Frost and Lena Headey as the supportive parents. The latter manages to put Cersei Lannister to one side and prove herself as a fantastic comedy actor, while the former reminds us why we fell in love with him in Shaun of the Dead.
However, it’s the sibling relationship between Zak and Paige that is, fittingly, the focus of the feature. Pugh, who is rightfully in every TV series and movie at the moment, manages to show those unfamiliar with the story how the world fell in love with this Norwich-born outsider. Lowden has the harder job of playing a brother who is jaded by his sister’s success and attempts to let out his anger in a particularly brutal wrestle with her. It’s testament to his performance that while we may dislike his character at times, we always see his internal agony and are able to sympathise throughout.
If there is one bone to pick with this picture, it’s the marketing which places Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a central character, something that is as implausible as the very premise of the film. Playing himself, the actor has two very short scenes where he gives memorable and witty pep talks, but his existence in the feature feels completely out of place.
Aside from this gratuitous cameo and a fairly predictable plot – unavoidable considering it’s based on a true story – Fighting with My Family is a movie that will have you laughing from start to finish, with a beating heart underneath it all.
Fighting with My Family is released nationwide on 1st March 2019.
Watch the trailer for Fighting with My Family here: