Fighting with My Family (2019)

Fighting with My Family
Director: Stephen Merchant
Writer: Stephen Merchant
Cast: Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Nick Frost, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn, Olivia Bernstone, Leah Harvey Dwayne Johnson, Thomas Whilley, Tori Ellen Ross, John Cena, Stephen Merchant
Seen on: 22.5.2022

The Knight family – father Ricky (Nick Frost), mother Julia (Lena Headey) and their children Zak (Jack Lowden) and Saraya (Florence Pugh) live and breathe wrestling, though the possibilities in their English town are limited. But then the chance of a lifetime comes calling: Zak and Saraya can audition for Hutch (Vince Vaughn), a talent scout for the big leagues and their ticket to the WWE. Or at least, that’s what they hope.

I didn’t expect much of Fighting with My Family, apart from being able to watch Florence Pugh do her thing, so I was very pleasantly surprised by the film that turned out to be a warm, funny family movie that reminded me of the time I really loved wrestling.

The film poster showing Saraya (Florence Pugh) leaning in the corner of a wrestling ring with the other main characters of the film behind her.

When I was still in elementary school, we had this wrestling video tape (recorded from a special channel that we didn’t have at home) that featured The Undertaker, Brad The Hitman Hart, Tatanka, Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, and many more. I don’t know how many times we played that tape, but I remember the excitement I felt while watching it.

Fighting with My Family taps into that excitement I felt as a kid, and the love for wrestling that I had back then (admittedly, I probably haven’t watched any wrestling in the last 30 years and I definitely wouldn’t say that it’s an on-going passion of mine), because that’s really what drives the Knight family. And like magic, it transported me back and made me feel that love again.

Julia (Lena Headey) and Ricky (Nick Frost) hugging Saraya (Florence Pugh).

But even if I hadn’t had that connection to wrestling myself, I think I would have enjoyed the film, simply for the warm look at an unusual family it gives us. While Julia and Ricky give us the setting, Saraya and Zak provide us with the dramatic tension. All four actors do an absolutely fantastic job, though Pugh and Lowden stand out, maybe just because there is more meat to their roles.

The film is less interesting when it covers the training – that part of the film feels a bit like it is only there because it is expected of a sports film, although saying that it is a sports film is absolutely wrong. Apparently the film doesn’t know that, though. Be that as it may, it’s only a small thing in an otherwise fun and touching movie that I enjoyed much more than I expected to.

Saraya (Florence Pugh) and Zak (Jack Lowden) in the ring.

Summarizing: very nice indeed.

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