"is an odd beast of a film, but it's hugely enjoyable and largely family friendly"
So let's get the elephant in the room out of the way, WWE Studios have previously not had a good track record when it comes to making films, they largely acknowledge this themselves whenever "The Marine" and its numerous dire sequels are mentioned. With this in mind its quite a large risk on their part to have focused their sights on the rags to riches story of one of their most popular women's wrestlers of all time, this being Saraya "Paige" Knight, herself bringing a lot of controversy to the WWE with her actions off screen.
Paige initially graced our screens along with the rest of the Knight family during the Channel 4 documentary "The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family" back in 2012, at the time of release it was somewhat of a rarity as the newer British wrestling era had yet to start and it was seen as a real niché. This documentary is well worth a watch before you watch this feature, whilst not being essential it's great for the non wrestling viewership to get their teeth into who Paige was pre-WWE.
Now to the film, if the above may have seemed to be negative, the film itself won me over, it feels very much like an unusual mix of British comedy and biography all the while having a somewhat feel good message throughout. Being written and directed by Stephen Merchant and being produced by probably the most successful actor to come from a wrestling back ground Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock, the film had a strong back bone to begin with and given its impressive cast this really has the chance of being a huge hit it.
The most well known members of the main cast are undoubtedly Nick Frost and Game of Thrones' Lena Headey who play Paige's parents Ricky Knight and Julia Knight respectively, it's great to see the chemistry these two have on screen, thankfully Nick Frost's performance is a touch more grounded than his real life counterpart.
Florence Pugh's performance as Paige is great, she feels like a strong female lead throughout and sells the fish out water performance of someone moving from grass roots to the big leagues. She's joined by Jack Lowden who plays Zak Knight, he's brilliant in this largely supporting role and between this and his role in Dunkirk he a bright future ahead, you really believe that he's the corner stone of his family, whether he realises it or not.
It's worth noting, for those unfamiliar with the somewhat misty details of the real story behind the film that there has been some changes made to appeal to a larger audience. a few of the details of her story have been glossed over or re-purposed to fit the narrative, nothing however that changes the fact that you can't help but feel hopeful and laugh a fair amount whilst watching. Also for those who are more familiar with the current British Wrestling or BritWrest scene there are some very familiar faces throughout.
There's also a fair touch of semi classic rock music used in the film with oddly fits the tone and aesthetic perfectly, it feels like this may have been a nod to Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler and this is a great touch.
In summary, Fighting With My Family is an odd beast of a film, but it's hugely enjoyable and largely family friendly. It also fits perfectly with the WWE's current wish of pushing their women's division and will hopefully be the inspiration for future women wanting to get into the business. I definitely feel this is going to be WWE's first smash hit and the start of some quite brilliant, dare I say origin stories for their most popular superstars could be a very good way to go.
I'm going to give this 4.5 out 5 stars, a few missed jokes aside this is a great film for all the family, just maybe expect to have to explain a few things to younger viewers.
If you've ever dreamed of greatness, wanted to hear people screaming your name or just wanted to stand up for your own little subculture then you'll like this, and as cheesy as it sounds, it's a reminder to not try to be the next someone else, be the next you.