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Fighting with My Family Review (2019)

My History with the Film:
Last February, I reviewed Fighting With My Family, a Channel 4 documentary about the Knight family. The Knight family lives and breathes professional wrestling and in this documentary you see the rise of WWE wrestler Paige. It was an interesting peek into the world of pro wrestling in England, prior to its resurgence, and how one family worked so hard to help their children succeed in the world of sports entertainment.

The Knight family consists of some very unique and interesting people, and this caught Hollywood’s attention. A fictional account of Fighting with My Family was produced and released in theaters two weeks ago. I made my way to the local Alamo Drafthouse to check it out and here are my spoiler free thoughts.

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
Two young British wrestlers dream of making it to the WWE.

What I Liked About It:
-The acting all around was wonderful with Florence Pugh (Paige) knocking it out of the park in every scene. Equally as charming was Jack Lowden (Zak Knight) and the remaining cast Nick Frost, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn, amongst others were near perfect in their roles.

-The wrestling scenes were the best I’ve ever seen in a movie. They were seamlessly cut together and despite my attempts at trying to catch a glimpse of Tessa Blanchard (who performed the stunts) I was unable to. Fighting with My Family did for cinematic wrestling scenes what Rocky did for boxing scenes.

-I was highly impressed with how palatable the movie was for non-wrestling fans, yet still gave us diehards something to enjoy. There is a great story here, combined with some great in-ring action, and even wrestling lingo like “receipts.” The film also addresses the whole “fake vs. scripted” arguments without coming off preachy or defensive. It offers a great explanation about what we fans love as wrestling and why we love it, and why we aren’t idiots for loving it. It’s the perfect introduction into the world of professional wrestling that I’ve ever seen.

-The movie is a drama at its core, but also features some legit laugh out loud comedic moments. 

 
-I kept my eyes peeled for indy wrestlers and other familiar faces and I didn’t see any. I actually like that. It didn’t pull me out of the story and allowed me to stay immersed in the film.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-While I enjoyed every minute of Fighting with My Family, it did feel about ten minutes too long.

-There is only one cameo scene with WWE wrestlers and it’s appropriate for the story, however it did feel tacked on. It added nothing to the story and probably should have been cut.

Additional Notes:

-IMPACT/WOW wrestler Tessa Blanchard performed the in-ring stunts as Paige.

-Scenes for the movie were shot at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, after Monday Night Raw on March 20th, 2017.

-Some filming took place in Paige’s home city of Norwich England and the nearby town of Great Yarmouth on April 3rd and 4th, 2017.
Rating:
Paige’s story is good, but I didn’t expect it to translate to the big screen so well. It’s an underdog story about a family obsessed with professional wrestling, and that doesn’t scream Hollywood production to me. Luckily, I was wrong. I took three non-wrestling fans with me to this show and all three loved the movie and expressed interest in actually going to a wrestling match afterwards. At its core, Fighting with My Family is a story about family dynamics and how those relationships can elevate us in life. It’s a story about misfits defying the odds and making it big.

It’s well acted, filmed beautiful, and feels authentic. It’s by far the best professional wrestling movie ever made and it’s a shame that it didn’t capture a bigger audience in theaters. I cannot recommend Fighting with My Family enough for non-wrestling fans, so for wrestling fans I think you’ll absolutely love it. I’d rate it five out of five and say it’s a must see.
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