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REVIEW: Fighting with my Family is a real crowd pleaser

PUBLISHED: 10:20 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:24 01 April 2019

Jack Lowden and Florence Pugh in Fighting with my Family

Jack Lowden and Florence Pugh in Fighting with my Family

© 2018 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Fighting with my Family is based on the true story of British WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) superstar Paige and her rise to wrestling stardom. Despite being a rather familiar rags to riches story, it is not your average sports movie and will appeal to a much wider audience.

Written and directed by Stephen Merchant, Fighting with my Family is based on the true story of British WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) superstar Paige and her rise to wrestling stardom.

Paige, real name Saraya Knight, was born into a wrestling family and by the age of 13 was performing, alongside her two brothers, for her parents’ Norwich based wrestling company WAW.

After attending tryouts for the world famous WWE with her brother Zack, Paige is selected for the company’s NXT wrestling school in Florida USA.

Based on a documentary of the same name, Fighting with my Family charts the young star’s journey to the big time, as well as shining a light on the reaction of her family back home, particularly brother Zak, for whom rejection by the WWE was a bitter pill to swallow.

Merchant’s script is laugh out loud funny without ever making a joke of its subject matter. He also succeeds in highlighting the drama of the story, which is at times heart wrenching and doesn’t shy away from the Knight Family’s darker side.

Florence Pugh, known predominantly for 2017’s excellent Lady Macbeth, stars as Paige and is thoroughly believable as the tough East Anglian goth.

Her uncertainty is tangible as she makes the huge jump from wrestling in the leisure centres and bingo halls of East Anglia to the bright lights of the WWE.

The assembled supporting cast are also well chosen. Vince Vaughan continues his recent career renaissance as NXT coach Hutch, while Nick Frost and Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey, are entertaining in the roles of brash parents Rowdy Ricky Knight and Sweet Saraya.

It is Jack Lowden, however, who steals the show. He is outstanding as Zak, injecting a real pathos into the role, by portraying the inner turmoil and mixed emotions that came with seeing his sister achieve something he had always dreamed of.

Action star and former wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who was a driving force behind the film, bringing the story to the attention of Merchant, appears briefly as himself in a handful of amusing scenes. However, he is not quite the star of the film as the poster would have you believe.

Despite being a rather familiar rags to riches story, Fighting with my Family is not your average sports movie and will appeal to a much wider audience.

It is rich of heart with legitimately funny moments, inter-spliced with genuinely touching moments. A real crowd pleaser.

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