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Fighting with My Family (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Fighting with My Family


Starring Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Dwayne Johnson, Mohammad Amiri, Hannah Rae, Julia Davis, Stephen Merchant, Ellie Gonsalves, Aqueela Zoll, Kimberly Matula, Thea Trinidad, Thomas Whilley, Tori Ross, Ciaran Dowd, Josh Myers, James Burrows and John Cena.

Screenplay by Stephen Merchant.

Directed by Stephen Merchant.

Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 108 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Is it possible that my father was right all of these years? That the drama of fixed professional wrestling was what I needed in my life? Today, he receives a moment of redemption and gratitude as I watched wrestling-focused Fighting with My Family and found it was exactly the film that I needed to watch.

Based on the true story of Saraya Knight (played by Florence Pugh), who was signed to the WWE under the wrestling persona name Paige, Fighting with My Family tells a story of family, chasing dreams, and persistence against all odds.

Born in to a family of crazy wrestlers, dad, Ricky Knight (played by Nick Frost) and mom Sweet Saraya (played by Lena Headey) made wrestling a family affair. At 13, they had Saraya step into the ring with her brother Zak (played by Jack Lowden) and she quickly learned to love the limelight.

They wrestled as a family in local Norwich, UK, setting up both matches and a training program as the World Wrestling Association (WWA), engaging their community – particularly Norwich’s youth – to keep them busy, focused and away from drugs and crime.

It’s a noble pursuit, but both Zak and Saraya see it as a stepping stone in pursuit of their real dream – to wrestle with the WWE. Their opportunity to audition comes early in the film, but when only Saraya is chosen to move forward on the WWE path, she must leave her brother behind in Norwich to pursue her dream. But was it really her dream or her family’s?

There are some super important, or at least, appreciated messages in Fighting with My Family.

  1. Building relationships with people is work. They are not often going to offer themselves to you. Most of the time you have to ask them about their story and take the steps to build the relationship, which then helps to build the team.

  2. Take a moment to appreciate what you have. This was a particularly important theme as Zak starts to follow in his half-brother Roy’s dream-crushed footsteps. We watch as he starts down the same tragic path with alcohol and violence to release the pain of not getting chosen for the WWE dream. He is so blinded by the loss of his dream that he fails to appreciate what he already has – a loving girlfriend, a baby son, the role of community wrestling mentor for the Norwich kids. He keeps them off of the streets and away from drugs. For Paige, he is the grounding force of support that has kept her moving forward. It takes a while for him to see it, but once he does, it is magic.

  3. The importance of following your dreams for you and not for anyone else.

Fighting with My Family was funny and smart, but most importantly, true to itself.

Dwayne Johnson’s footprint is all over this film – he received a producer credit and cameoed as himself twice (and in an end credit blurb).

This is a film that I will want to watch again for all the right reasons. I have already recommended to my daughter. I may even plan a trip to watch it with my dad.

Bonnie Paul

Copyright ©2019 All rights reserved. Posted: February 15, 2019.

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