FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY
By Mary Cox
I thought “Fighting with My Family” was going to be another film about a dysfunctional family and I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Knight family is a close knit English family who is into professional wrestling and now owns a small gym where they teach local children professional wrestling holds and falls. The parents, Ricky and Julia are played by Nick Frost and Lena Heady. They are the parents of three children. Their oldest son is in prison but their two youngest, Zak and Saraya, (Jack Lowden and Florence Pugh) dream of being chosen to come to America and wrestle in the WWE.
Florence Pugh was excellent in the role of Saraya. She really gave an outstanding performance. You could see her character’s angst in her eyes and facial expressions. I think this may be the breakout role for her that will send her career skyrocketing.
The Knight family is overjoyed when both kids are invited to an initial tryout for the WWE. Trouble begins when only Saraya is chosen to go to America and tryout. Zak is angry that his lifelong dreams are dashed and have to no chance of ever coming to fruition. Saraya, a goth, is resentful of the other women trying out for the WWE because they were models and cheerleaders and she feels like an outcast. She is homesick for her brother and family.
Vince Vaughn plays Hutch, the WWE trainer, who not only trains wrestlers but also, chooses who will wrestle for the WWE and who will go home. Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, has a minimally supporting role. The Rock fans will be disappointed that his role is so limited.
People who see Vince Vaughn in the credits will expect him to be comic relief. He isn’t: he plays this role straight.
Writer/Director Stephen Merchant has done a beautiful job capturing the feelings the kids have and pulling out performances from his actors that make you want to root for them to succeed. Incidentally, this is based on a true story. At the end of the film, Merchant shows pictures of the really family.
I found myself identifying with Saraya. Who hasn’t felt like an outsider at some point in their lives? I also found myself indentifying with Zak. Who hasn’t been denied something you worked for and desperately wanted?
I was surprised that WWE wrestlers have to go through so much to be chosen to wrestle. As a kid, I watched “Wrestling at the Chase” on Saturday nights. I loved it until I went to the Chase and saw the wrestling ring. The ring was made of flimsy mats on a hard floor. You could really get hurt wrestling. I had more respect for wrestlers after that. After seeing “Fighting with my Family,” I now have more respect for the WWE, too.
“Fighting with my Family” is now showing at AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12.