I’m not fighting with my family in quarantine… well not just yet, but I decided to give the Hulu featured film a go. Fighting with my Family came out in 2019 to an average box office reception but has plenty of familiar faces throughout including the director, Stephen Merchant. Produced by WWE Studios (usually notorious for putting their wrestlers in silly character situations), this feel good film stands out as a gem amongst the sweaty rough.
Set in Norwich, England, we follow Saraya/Brittany/Paige (her real name is Saraya though) through her acceptance into the WWE program. There are various sub-plots immediately in this film, such as Saraya doing her family proud, her brother Zak’s breakdown when his dream isn’t realized, and conflict with other sexy competitors. This doesn’t confuse the story, in fact it’s structured very well, and it really brings home the rags to riches story; you betcha Dwayne Johnson told his story about being poor to the superstar he is–he couldn’t help it (and he’s also the producer so… yeah).
Anyway, the main standouts were the cast. Florence Pugh, now famous for Midsommar and Little Women genuinely excels as a WWE Diva–she’s fierce, professional, and has her healthy dose of character insecurities where she finds strength to overcome. Lena Headey (Cersei from Game of Thrones) stars as her proud mother, Nick Frost as the chunky, ex-con dad, and Vince Vaughn as the WWE training coach/superstar finder. They all play their roles exemplary and add a lot of weight to the journey from no-one to someone.
There have been plenty of movies that follow a rags to riches story. Whether it’s a character in search of fame in Hollywood, a singer, or artist–the narrative is well known thus the structure to this film feels predictable, and it in fact is. That doesn’t take away from the journey that Saraya embarks on–it feels fresh, high stakes, like she’s a fish out of water. What makes it special is the fact that it is a story about the WWE. Although this is a commercial, polished story that fully utilizes the scope of international wrestling, it feels new and exciting to me–a fan from afar of the televised sport.
The film indulges in the in-ring choreography of ‘fake’ wrestling, giving it a heart and lovable moments that make this film stand out among a horde of lesser wrestling/dream chasing films. It is well shot, gives you goosebump moments, and is perfect to watch with your quarantined family to stop them fighting.
4 / 5.