Ben Oliver

Banner image for Fighting with My Family

Fighting with My Family

Dick me dead, and bury me pregnant.
12 June 2020

A local wrestling family from Norwich get a surprise when their daughter (Florence Pugh) gets accepted to train with the WWE in America—a path that could lead to stardom.

This is a WWE produced film that paints wrestling as a sort of rags to riches fairytale, and it frequently shows. It only very briefly touches on the notion that there can be a downside to the profession, despite the massive amount of premature deaths in the sport.

The script does grapple with the criticism that women are only in the business for their looks by having its characters explain that this isn’t the case. This does not tally at all with what we see of wrestling in the film, much less in real life.

With all that out of the way, Fighting with My Family is nonetheless pretty great. Stephen Merchant has a knack for making believable, interesting and funny families (see: Cemetery Junction) and although he is a left-field choice of director for this project it’s his touch that makes it work.

The cast is unusual for a mid-budget project like this. Florence Pugh was a rising star when they shot the film, by the time is was released she was an Oscar nominated star. A stroke of luck perhaps—her performance stands out quite a long way above the others. Vince Vaughn and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson provide some Hollywood star power (the latter was a producer on the film); Nick Frost and Lena Headey keep it grounded as the parents back in Norwich.

Despite its flaws and weird undertones, this is a funny and warm production that punches above its weight.

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