Can we all agree this is the most underrated, underappreciated movie of 2019? We can, good, glad that’s out of the way. As stacked as 2019 was for movies and there were a ton of amazing movies, sadly some pretty phenomenal ones fall by the wayside. Sadly, this film is one no one saw in theaters (including me) but the positive word of mouth that stemmed from this movie was unbelievable. This movie deserves all the praise that it was given and then some, it just needs more love and respect. Fighting with My Family is unexpectedly great, it came out of nowhere and for those who have seen it know just how incredible this story is.
Don’t ask why it took me so long to see this film, all the content creators that I follow have raved about this film and now I know why, this film, from top to bottom is phenomenal. The WWE, even though has millions of fans globally still might not be favored by most. It’s a very niche sport and it is in fact a sport, staged or not. These wrestlers are still athletes and some of the most popular of all time (just look at Dwayne Johnson).
Even with it’s its vast popularity, the game has changed dramatically over the years. Just like all sports, it must evolve and adapt to stay in the public’s eye. It’s a mostly male dominated sport but Paige (Florence Pugh) changed the game single-handedly. Paige was born and raised along with her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) in a wrestling family. Wrestling is more than life for them, it’s the air they breathe or the food that they eat. It’s a dream for Paige and Zak to make it to the WWE roster and win the championship belts.
Their parents Patrick (Nick Frost) and Julia (Lena Headey) sincerely care about their kids dreams – willing to do anything to make those dreams come true, even if it means robbing banks. These are the type parents that although appear to be living through their children, that’s not the case, Patrick and Julia just want their children to be happy. The family dynamic is crucial to this film’s success and it comes across brilliantly and genuine. The Knight family are only plain and simple good people, they are even teaching a blind person to wrestle, that just warms your heart.
Florence Pugh shines as Paige, she steals every scene she’s in. Her charisma is infectious with every room she walks into, people can’t help but look her way. Maybe it’s because Paige is a bit weird (let’s be real, who isn’t weird these days) or maybe it’s because she looks different than everyone else, but she stole the show. Her shortcomings can also be those exact reasons, she’s a loner who thinks no one likes her because of her accent and appearance. It’s the opposite, the other diva’s in the NXT program felt she didn’t open up enough to them or ask enough questions.
She even attempts to be like them losing herself in the process. Dying her hair and getting the fake tan was the worst thing she could have done to try and fit in. All anyone has to do is be themselves but sometimes it can be difficult being yourself especially if you are an outsider trying to break through a barrier. Florence and Jack’s chemistry as brother and sister is one of the best things about this movie. Yes, they are siblings they’ll clash, but they genuinely care about one another even though it seems that Zak is a completely jealous person because he wasn’t chosen to move into the NXT training program..
That jealousy takes over him, controls him and skews his view of his sister. You feel bad for the guy, everything he ever wanted is in that ring. He’s dedicated his entire life to get to the WWE only to come up short to his younger sister. Zak was chasing the fame and fortune, but he was doing it to give his family and his newborn a better life. It can be heartbreaking to watch him give up his dream and realize all he would be good enough if chosen is to be a jobber. It’s even worse when Zak realizes Paige wants to give up for something he would die for. He loses his spirit, his love for the game and himself in the process.
Director Stephen Merchant can do no wrong, this man’s resume speaks for itself. Everything he touches turns to gold (The Office, British version, JoJo Rabbit, Logan, The Big Bang Theory) Fighting with My Family is such a heartwarming, charming story – watching it will make anyone believe they can accomplish their dreams if they work hard enough and are willing to put every ounce of effort into achieving that goal. To think Paige nearly gave up on her dream hurts a little, we all have that dream to make it as a professional athlete but to just give it all up after what Morgan (Vince Vaughn) saw in her felt defeating.
All biopics take certain liberties when presenting itself to an audience. Certain things happen and certain things didn’t happen. Characters are fictionalized while some plot points aren’t expanded to what actually happened. The one thing this biopic gets right is how much heart it has. Heart is in this films DNA; it makes us care about characters and people most wouldn’t think twice to care about. Fighting with My Family proves that this sport, this spectacle of the WWE is more than skin deep. If you have the passion, determination, and spirit, it shouldn’t matter what you look like or how you sound, you belong. Given how massive the WWE has become, Fighting with My Family manages to stay grounded and humble while still having that over the top electric feeling when the music starts. There’s no cockiness about the journey, only tough life lessons learned from the greats that came from nothing and made a name for themselves.
Fighting with My Family is funny, charming, has some pacing issues but the family interactions and inspirational moments make up for it. Even Dwayne Johnson has a short but effective cameo that brings that heel character we all know and love. None of the film feels rushed or out of place, the run time is consistent with other sports dramas. The humor isn’t forced thanks to the beautifully written script, it’s as if we are just seeing a normal day at the Knight residence. The stunts are performed flawlessly – we get a peek into how the sport is staged but feels authentically real. If I were to rate Fighting with My Family, I’d rate it a 4.75 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Fighting with My Family and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Fighting with My Family is written and directed by Stephen Merchant is Rated PG-13 and has an 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fighting with My Family was released on February 27th, 2019 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. Fighting with My Family can be bought online by retailers including Vudu, Google and Itunes while also being available to stream on Hulu.
If you guys like what you’re reading, please check out my Patreon to support the blog in different way.
*I do not own these photos used in this article; all rights reserved to the copyright holder*