Tony's Take

FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY review

A Comedy about a Family That Fight a Little Differently

Everything Dwayne Johnson, ask “The Rock”, touches turns to gold.  That trend is all the more verified once again in this week’s “Fighting with My Family”!  Following the incredible true story of a family from Norwich, the film zeroes-in on the famous WWE wrestler known as Paige.  Saraya Knight (Florence Pugh) and the rest of the Knight family are thoroughbred wrestling enthusiasts; they have been running their own family wrestling show for years and they even have their own name, the World Association of Wrestling.  With WWE Smackdown coming to the 02 Arena in London, Saraya and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) are invited to try out for NXT and have their shot at becoming a WWE wrestler.  While the tryouts go smoothly for both, only Saraya is invited to come to Florida to train; thus creating a massive divide between her and her brother.  While she has the full support and excitement from her mom and dad (Nick Frost and Lena Headey), she continues to question if she really is strong enough to accomplish the dream she’s had since she was just a little girl.

While the focus of “Fighting with My Family” may be the world of wrestling, the message of the film is incredibly poignant and is sure to resonate with viewers across the globe regardless of their affiliation with wrestling.  Director Stephen Merchant pulls double-duty as he also plays a small role as Zak’s girlfriend’s father, but he truly excels at the helm.  The cast is sublime, Pugh and Lowden are outstanding, but Frost and Headey as the loving, exotic parents are fantastic and steal multiple scenes!  Pugh and Lowden both nail the brother-sister narrative, but their true commitment to their craft is showcased during the wrestling scenes; as they are well-choreographed and convincing.  Vince Vaughn is terrific as the NXT coach, proving he should absolutely be getting more roles in Hollywood than he has in recent years.  Also, assuming his actual place in Paige’s story, Dwayne Johnson has a few scene-stealing, outrageous sequences as well!  For the eagle-eyed fans, a few pro wrestlers make cameo appearances as well.

Clearly the reviews around the World are also positive, as yesterday it was announced that Chris Hemsworth would be starring in a biopic about Hulk Hogan (which I believe it due to how well this film is tracking).  The film is full of humor and plenty laugh-out-loud moments throughout.  Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the film is its emotional core, as every viewer will feel a tug at their heartstrings at least once over the course of its 108 minute run time.  Sure it’s chock-full of heroic, underdog clichés that we’ve seen hundreds of times, but the cast makes them work and with a great payoff as well!  I was left thoroughly entertained by “Fighting with My Family”; it has everything you could possibly want it a film with a great, heartwarming story, plenty of humor, and the clichés of typical underdog tales.  While nothing groundbreaking, the film is a great time at the movies!

“Fighting with My Family” is a heartwarming, powerful story about the importance of family and the monumental value of achieving your dreams!  It is by far the best film of 2019 and I truly hope it finds the audience it deserves!

 4/5

FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual material, language throughout, some violence and drug content, in theaters FEBRUARY 22ND!

 

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