BEIRUT: Who knew that the story of a WWE wrestler from Norwich, England, would result in one of the most heart-warming films of 2019?
FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY tells the true tale of Saraya Bevis, who fought under the name "Paige," and her outrageous, wrestling-obsessed family as Saraya’s journey towards becoming DIVA’S CHAMPION of the WWE completely changes the lives of the family forever.
This film not only checks off all the right beats narratively, but it does so in a way that the journey from the film’s opening scene to its closing scene is one filled with surprising laughs, fist-pumping thrills, and characters that you fall in love with.
The story is a true hero’s journey.
It's an actual coming-of-age story in which Paige and everyone in her family must grow up. It's also a story of ambition, obligation, sibling rivalry, missed opportunities, broken dreams, loneliness, hard work, success and triumph, all of that with people throwing each other around a ring.
FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY is a peek behind the curtain of the blood, sweat and tears that make up the world of wrestling, but most importantly, it's a device that tells Paige's incredible story.
What is rather interesting is how the film treats wrestling as seriously as the family members, themselves, and this helps to not undermine Paige’s passion for it, and could, as a result, win people over.
At the end of the day, as Paige’s coach states, wrestling is “soap opera in spandex,” and the film really builds on that narratively.
It doesn’t focus too much on what happens in the ring, but the meaning of what happens there: Paige’s hopes and dreams, the bonds of family, and how to focus on one’s blessings versus one’s losses.
Technically, the film is rather minimalistic, but that’s a good thing, because it limits visual distractions and allows the audience to truly connect with the characters on the screen.
The performances here are spectacular and are the unsinkable engine of the film.
Starting off with the parents, Lena Headey and Nick Frost both have a blast with these characters, and after being subjected to Headey’s Cerse for seven years, it’s rather entertaining to see her in such a sassy yet lovable role.
Jack Lowden, who plays Paige’s brother Zak, really delivers on the tragic journey that Zak goes on throughout the film.
Lowden does not hide his emotions, and instead exposes Zak’s vulnerability with his heartfelt performance.
Florence Pugh, who plays the lead role of Paige, proves that this is not her first time in the ring, and brings us a genuine and inspirational performance here.
She throws herself into the physicality of Paige, but also exhibits her understanding of the wrestler’s inner-strength, humor, and emotion.
The heart and soul of FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY is the story of an unusual athlete whose dreams come true when she fights with, and for, her family.
It's about never giving up on yourself because being yourself is your superpower. It's an underdog story that will inspire all who witness it.
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