Wrestling Reviews

Fighting with My Family Review

Jack Dinsley reviews the movie based on the incredible life of former WWE superstar Paige, Fighting With My Family.

Have you ever wanted to see what it would be like to become a WWE wrestler? WWE Studio’s latest film, Fighting with My Family does just this.

Paige’s life story comes to the big screen, showing the heart and soul behind the future WWE Divas Champion.

The film follows the lives of the wrestling family, the Knight’s, who run their own wrestling company WAW (World Association of Wrestling) in Norwich, England. From a young age, Saraya (a,k.a. Paige) and her older brother, Zak have been trained to be wrestlers and nothing else. Eventually, after hard work and training, they finally get given the chance to have a try-out for WWE. This is something that they have both dreamed of their entire lives. However, how would you feel if your sister got the chance of a lifetime in America and you were left in England? This is exactly what ended up happening to Zak.

While Paige has to prove herself in WWE’s developmental territory, NXT, Zak’s life in England turns upside down, getting into fights at the local pub, as well as resorting to drinking and not being the father that his baby needs. It shows how much being signed by WWE meant to the athlete and how the knockback affected him mentally. The film takes the audience on a journey, showing the contrasts of their lives and how one decision can impact so much.

One of the film’s strengths was the casting and how believable it was. Florence Pugh was the perfect casting for Paige, she delivered a rich and emotional performance to the big screen. Meanwhile, Jack Lowden portrayed Zak Knight, Paige’s older brother. His performance was brilliant, and I felt for the character throughout the film. He was a man with big dreams, but sadly these would be dreams he wouldn’t be able to capture. Lowden was able to deliver the emotional side of Zak’s character effectively and you were made to feel for the character. He wanted this more than anything and it was taken away from him.

Nick Frost and Lena Headey were the perfect pairing for Patrick and Julia Knight. They brought humour and wit to their roles, and they exceeded my expectations in the film. Dwayne Johnson was a great addition to the film but he was definitely in the film to drive up sales. Known for her in-ring character, Zelina Vega, Thea Trinidad showed that she’s quite the talent as she portrayed the psychotic, AJ Lee (one of my favourite female wrestlers of all time) and she did an excellent job in the role. To portray such a woman is very difficult and I believe she did a compelling job in the brief time she was actually on screen. Finishing this impressive cast was Vince Vaughn, who played the man that crushed Zak’s dreams of becoming a professional wrestler in WWE. His character, Hutch Morgan was a hard man who wanted the very best from all the athletes under his wing. You either loved or hated his character and I felt like Vaughn did a good job portraying the NXT trainer.

Stephen Merchant is the man behind the directing and writing of the film (and he also had a minor role in the film) and he did an excellent job of directing. He ensured that the film flowed well for the most part. On the other hand, I didn’t think his writing for the film was as good as his directing. I thought that the writing was quite fast-paced, and we didn’t get enough of all the characters. He didn’t give much direction for any of the children that came to the WAW training facility and we didn’t get to know a lot about the NXT talent that Paige interacted with.

Although it was an excellent film, it was full of inaccuracies that went through me when watching the film. The film gave the impression that NXT is nothing more than a training camp but as WWE fans will know that it’s actually more than that. It arguably has better storylines than the main roster at times and has some of the best talent in one place. Prior to debuting on the main roster, Paige was the NXT Women’s Champion and gained acclaim whilst on the roster. When she debuted on the main roster, she received a major pop because most fans knew who she was. She even held the NXT and Diva’s Champion at the same time. Yes, she was that good. Therefore, in the film when she debuted on Raw, it didn’t feel like an accurate representation of how it actually happened in real life. It didn’t give the same feel good factor in the film, as it seemed like she was shoehorned onto the main roster, and seemingly became Diva’s Champion after one NXT match. Shows how important those suicide dives are though, folks.

In the film, it suggests that WWE still hired women based on their looks. In actual fact around the same time that Paige was hired by WWE, this was when Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Emma were starting to appear on the WWE scene as well.

There were several other inaccuracies seen in the film but these were the ones that got me in particular. As a WWE fan, I felt that this was lazy and it offended me to watch some of the film. I have watched wrestling from a young age, and as I have grown so has WWE. I have seen the company at it’s highest points, and when the film had mistakes, it makes you question yourself as a fan and how much they respect their fans.

Overall, I really enjoyed the film, I thought the casting was perfectly done and I was happy with how the main characters were developed from the start. Fighting with My Family could have come off better if it stayed faithful to the events that actually happened in real life. I thought the pace of the film was spot on, and it suited the tone of the movie which was action-packed from the get-go. I was hugely impressed with the wrestling moves that the actors performed.

I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to see an underdog story and for them to overcome hurdles in their path. WWE fans will enjoy the film but just brace yourself for the mistakes in the film as I was expecting a much more accurate run through of her career.

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