Fighting with My Family, rated PG-13
Fighting with My Family is based on the true story of professional wrestler Saraya “Paige” Bevis and her family from England. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Jumanji) was in England filming a movie when he saw a documentary about Paige and her family on television a few years ago. He was attracted to the “underdog” aspect of the story, and contracted Emmy winner Stephen Merchant (Lip Sync Battle, The Office, The Ricky Gervais Show) about making a full-length feature film about the family. Merchant wrote and directed the film, as well as playing a small role. Johnson served as executive producer and also appears in a few scenes as himself.The wrestling crazy working-class Knight family lives in Norwich, England. Father Ricky, a likeable former convict (eight years for robbing banks and acts of violence) played by Nick Frost, and his former drug abuser wife Julie, played by Golden Globe nominee Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), love each other and their children. Saraya is played by Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth), brother Zac is played by Jack Lowden (Dunkirk, Mary Queen of Scots), and her brother Nick is serving time in prison.
The Knights run a minor wrestling league, the World Association of Wrestling (WAW), and Zac teaches wrestling classes for a rag-tag bunch of local kids. The family watches professional wrestling matches from the United States on television and dream of one day Saraya, who has been wrestling since 13, and Zac, who has been wrestling since 3, being part of that. Saraya and Zac regularly submit their wrestling videos, hoping for a tryout.
Zac’s girlfriend is pregnant, and an early scene shows the Knight’s meeting with her parents, with her father being played by Merchant, for a hilariously awkward dinner.
One night, they get a call indicating that they have been invited to try out for American coach Hugh, played by Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers, Hacksaw Ridge). Saraya and Zac try out, but only Saraya is selected. Zac is devastated, as his dreams of a professional wrestling career are shattered.
Saraya then flies to Orlando for the NXT camp, with the best wrestlers earning an invite to the WWE. There she encounters some beautiful models and cheerleaders who freeze her out. Coach Hugh encourages her to change her name, and she is now known as Paige. Paige is lonely, tired, misses home and struggles at NXT. On a trip home she tells Zac that she is ready to quit. At the same time, the film shows the impact of not being selected on Zac, who now has a child, as he struggles with his dream of being in the WWE being shattered.
Themes in the film include family, working hard, and being an outsider. Content concerns include some adult and crude language, including the abuse of God’s and Jesus’ names, and the expected professional wrestling violence.
The acting performances were solid, led by Florence Pugh and Vince Vaughn. There is a good use of music in the film.
Fighting with My Family is an entertaining and funny drama about WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) wrestler Saraya “Paige” Bevis and her family that has some content concerns.