“Fighting With My Family” is the biographical film about the rise of Saraya “Paige” Bevis from the streets of Norwich, England as she seeks her place in the WWE. It was conveniently written and directed by Stephen Merchant. I like it when the writer and the director are same. It cuts down on the name checking. Florence Pugh takes on the lead role and does quite well with it. Paige was apparently just 18 years old when she started on this rather bizarre career path and was the youngest champion of the WWE Divas. Nick Frost and Lena Headey play the eccentric, uncouth, yet strangely charming parents who have fostered this obsession for wrestling in their offspring. They run their own wrestling company in England. Jack Lowden plays the brother who also wanted to cash in on an opportunity to shine in the WWE, but fate had other paths for young Zak Bevis. Of course, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson had some amusing moments in this one. Vince Vaughn plays the fictional, I suspect, coach who oversees the grueling tryouts.
It’s a little hard to feel that emotionally engaged to a film that has a staged sporting event as the backdrop, however it’s not impossible. I am not a wrestling fan, but I connected with the family dynamics in the story. There were the familiar aspects such as envy from a less successful sibling and desperation to get out of the confinements of an overly familiar neighborhood. It also dealt with the feeling of loneliness when one if different from their peers and has unusual ambitions. The script had some clever retorts and other moments.
Having a film focus on WWE is not that common, but much of what was depicted in this film has been seen before. Even in spite of a certain lack of originality in some aspects, the film still manages to be quite enjoyable. The performances were solid. The other characters were charming. Pugh puts in a very effective and convincing performance. Some events depicted in the film I could easily spot as artistic license, however even that was not too terribly distracting. This falls short of being a masterpiece of any sort, but I found it quite more enjoyable than I expected. That’s saying something from someone who doesn’t follow wrestling at all.