Daily mini-review: Fighting With My Family (Netflix)

‘Don’t worry about being the next me. Be the first you.’

Directed by the comedian, actor and writer Stephen Merchant Fighting With My Family is another based on a true story sports movie about a family of wrestlers based in Norwich

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (who cameos and was one of the producers of the film) caught the 2012 Channel 4 documentary about the Knight family one night during a stay in the UK, and was certain it was the perfect story for a film – immediately calling Stephan Merchant to share his idea.

A few years later it all came together with this fantastic underseen film with a truly superb cast. The tight-knit family of wrestling obsessives is played by Florence Pugh (one of Briton’s finest exports who had a trio of brilliant films last year – this, Midsommar and Little Women) as daughter Paige, Jack Lowden (Mary Queen of Scots and Dunkirk) plays her brother Zak, Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz and Shaun Of The Dead) is dad Patrick and Lena Headey (Game Of Thrones) is mum Julia.

The film opens with Paige (competing under the ring name Britani Knight) and Zak (competing under the ring name Zak Zodiac)  in 2008 as they help their parents train prospective wrestlers while working towards their own promotion. Rick and Julia, struggling financially, ask WWE trainer Hutch Morgan (Vince Vaughn) to sign the siblings. He finally agrees to a tryout before a SmackDown taping at The O2 Arena, Only Paige gets signed.

The film follows Paige getting to live out the dream she and her brother have shared all their lives, but having to do it alone. We also see Zak struggle to come to terms with not only having his dream deferred but being stuck at home whilst his sister gets to live it.

The fantastic thing about this film is how universal it is. It’s first and foremost a film about families – how they can still be your favourite people who you love dearly but they’re also the people who know best how to annoy you and can hurt you the most. There’s no requirement to be a fan of wrestling, although there’s the odd in-joke and cameo you may appreciate if you are. The film brilliantly balances the wrestling components and the family drama – making this a really charming watch for all the family.

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