Tuesday, May 21, 2019
FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY: IN AND OUT OF THE RING
The WWE is one of the most dominating entertainment companies in the world today. What began as a small territorial wrestling promotion has developed into the largest wrestling promotion in the world. Not only do they handle championship wrestling on a near nightly basis they’ve moved into movies as well. If you don’t believe that look at the career of Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock. But movies that tell the life stories of wrestlers aren’t that common. That changes with FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY.
In 2002 young Zak and Saraya Knight argue over what to watch, a WWF pay per view or CHARMED. While wrestling in the living room to decide their parents, Ricky (Nick Frost) and Julia (Lena Headey), come in and rather than stop the fight correct their holds. Ricky is a wrestler and promoter of his own promotion. As the children grow they work in the ring alongside their parents with Zak (Jack Lowden) dreaming of the day he can join the WWE. Sister Saraya (Florence Pugh) dreams of being their alongside her older sibling.
An opportunity presents itself when the WWE is set for a show in the UK. Zak and Saraya show up to try out under the watchful eye of Hutch Morgan (Vince Vaughan). Since they already have a Britani in the WWE Saraya must change her name and choose Paige after one of the characters from CHARMED. Things run smooth and the pair think they stand a good chance of getting in. But it is only Saraya that is chosen. When she refuses to go without Zak he convinces her that this is the dream the family has had for years and she agrees.
Saraya now Paige shows up in Florida for the WWE’s NXT promotion, a lower level wrestling promotion that grooms wrestlers for the main event in the WWE. She’s not like the other female wrestlers, nearly all leggy blonde models. But at 18 she’s young and ready to go and has more in the ring experience than any of them combined.
Being different, being the odd one out, Paige doesn’t make friends and it isn’t long before her disdain for their abilities shows causing more conflict within the group. Hutch pushes her, seeing something there that many would not.
Back home Zak has hit rock bottom. A new father and husband, his dreams crushed, watching his sister’s star rise he’s torn between family loyalty and jealousy over her chance at success. Ricky and Julia aren’t much better seeing Paige’s rise not as something that she herself wanted but more what they wanted for themselves when they were younger as well as her being able to help promote their own business now.
As the grind gets to her Paige begins to wonder if this is what she’s meant for. Are the dreams of being a WWE champion really hers or are they the dreams her family wanted? Can she handle not just the physical aspects of being a professional wrestler but the emotional ones as well?
The movie is one of the most entertaining flicks I’ve seen this year. I was truly surprised by it. Not only did it tell the real life story of a WWE star (well as real as any biopic can be) but it did it with heart as well. You don’t have to be a wrestling fan to enjoy this movie (though it probably helps). More than anything though I found myself laughing out loud (yes really!) more than once while watching the film. It delivers on so many levels. Superficial, probably but always entertaining.
All actors here do a fantastic job of bringing what could have been cardboard cutout figures to life. Their hopes and dream can be felt, their goals achieved and crushed bring joy and pain and each one of them ties into the other to make this a movie not just about the star but the entire family. Not an easy task to achieve and yet they do.
WWE stars like Dwayne Johnson, The Miz, Sheamus and Big Show also make appearances in the film and Johnson was also one of the producers for the film. WWE movies have been all over the place from good to bad. This is a good one and worth watching.