Get in the ring. Fighting With My Family is fun, says Rashid Irani
This is one of those incredible true-life sports-hero stories. Fighting With My Family dramatises the ascent to wrestling superstardom of the natural-born grappler known to fans as Paige (Florence Pugh).
Born into a wrestling-obsessed family (parents played by Lena Headey and Nick Frost; elder brother by Jack Lowden), Paige makes her ring debut in her hometown of Norwich, England, at the age of 13.
The siblings eventually get invited to audition for the WWE training programme. She makes the cut but he doesn’t. So Paige heads to Florida to train. Back home, the brother struggles to come to terms with being left behind, while continuing to encourage her to pursue her wrestling career and bring glory to their family.
This is the first solo directorial feature for British TV veteran Stephen Merchant (The Office) and he invests the underdog story with a winning mix of humour and drama. He also displays a canny knack for casting. The ensemble cast, including Vince Vaughn as the no-nonsense coach, is uniformly impressive, and Pugh just effortlessly steals the show.
Dwayne Johnson, who has also co-produced the film, cameos in a couple of scenes in his wrestling avatar of The Rock. All in all, Fighting With My Family is a pleasant surprise. I recommend it for fans of wrestling and non-fans alike.
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