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Fighting with My Family Movie Poster (#3 of 3) - IMP AwardsReview

Fighting with My Family (Drama, Comedy, Biography) [Based on True Story] (2019)


Director: Stephen Merchant

Writer: Stephen Merchant

Stars: Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Dwayne Johnson

Raised by wrestling parents, two young adults travel from their native England to Florida in the United States to try out and train for an appearance in the largest wrestling promotion in the world.

Documenting the life of Saraya Jade Bevis and based upon the 2012 documentary ‘’The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family’’ Stephen Merchant, alongside WWE itself, set out to provide a comedic interpretation of Bevis’ life, better known as Paige during her time in the wrestling industry as part of the WWE roster as at the time of writing she’s signed to rival promotion AEW. The film has been produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Film4 Productions, The Ink Factory, Seven Bucks Productions, Misher Films and WWE Studios while being distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in North America and Universal Pictures internationally.

From humble beginnings, now-famous professional wrestler Paige (Florence Pugh) climbs the ladder to appear on the most significant stage in the professional wrestling industry. Raised by British wrestlers Saraya Knight and Ricky Knight, she’s been living around wrestling for her entire life and primed to show the WWE that she’s a star in the making.

Reflecting on the journey of former WWE superstar Paige, Stephen Merchant approaches her story with a comedic touch. Fitting to a different era in WWE, shown in the hiring process and training throughout leading to her initial appearance on the main stage.

Fighting With My Family' Review: Sundance Film FestivalWithin a pro-wrestling origin story lies an accessible yet briskly-paced comedy with drama undertones. “Fighting with My Family’’ might almost seem like a TV movie while still having little issue convincing major audiences with its approach. Even providing touches familiar to the fanbase in cameos and references within the wrestling industry reflects a time between 2011 and 2015, just before a vital pivot within WWE regarding its female division in 2016.

Fighting With My Family: Florence Pugh on costar Dwayne JohnsonFor a niche that isn’t allowed many feature films, Merchant’s depiction of this young wrestler’s journey to the pinnacle of Sports Entertainment could be considered a prime example of its form. Light-heartedness and family drama come through without being overbearing, largely due to the performances given by Lena Headey and Nick Frost, playing Paige’s parents. While it doesn’t over-emphasise, a clear act structure is apparent and serves as a guiding light for the supporting cast, most getting a fair shake in this more-than-decent and delightfully brief telling.

In a manner of speaking, ‘’Fighting with My Family’’ provides an underdog’s tale. This pale Englishwoman, already hardened by her upbringing and wrestling experience in England, coming to America, realising not everyone is meant to appear on the grandest stage despite every good intention or expertise. For WWE fans like me... It is a trip down memory lane, having followed Paige’s career on screen also noticing notable exclusions such as her time in the company’s developmental brand NXT, where she already became a woman’s champion. In addition to supplemented inclusions such as Dwayne ‘’The Rock’’ Johnson, a familiar appearance to wrestling fans and layman alike. Merchant’s film was, in my opinion, somewhat of a breakthrough role for Florence Pugh, and I’m glad it was. ‘’Fighting with My Family’’ remains one of the best films by WWE Studios due to the wise decision to make it a co-production with other companies.


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