It’s time to learn the story of Paige the greatest female wrestler of modern times. In a film that takes her from her home to the bright lights of the WWE in Fighting with My Family.
Starring Florence Plugh (star of Lady Macbeth one of my favourite films of recent years) Fighting with My Family tells the origins of Saraya “Paige” Bevis. Part of a family of wrestlers based in Norwich Saraya has always wanted to be a wrestler. It’s in her blood, it’s who she is and nothing can stop her. So when the WWE are holding auditions at the O2 Arena Saraya and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden, another of my favourite modern actors) are eyed for their apparent talent.
After trying out though only the newly christened Paige is chosen by talent scout Hutch Morgan (Vince Vaughn). This leaves her brother to lick his wounds as she heads off to America to potentially become a wrestler.
When she hits the sun-soaked shores she is immediately out of her element and she doesn’t know what to do. Issues compound on top of issues and she begins to doubt herself. Across the pond, her brother Zak is falling further and further into depression.
The narrative of Fighting with My Family is at times a tag team in of itself as the audience follows both Zak and Paige through their respective journeys. With Zak, it’s all about him losing this once in a lifetime opportunity and in his eyes going back to his supposed mundane life. While this goes on Paige has to deal with the trials and tribulations of the training course she is a part of as well as her contemporaries who are less than thrilled she is there.
Director Stephen Merchant (who also has a small role in the film) works the dual storyline deftly. Unfortunately, the story is quite contrived and clichéd but ultimately it doesn’t matter. Yes, you know where Paige is headed and when she hits that second act hurdle you know what’s coming – a well-placed montage.
The main element for this is the cast assembled. Florence Pugh is brilliant as Paige. She has a wonderful vulnerability to her that brings the audience into her story. On top of that, the rapport between the family is brilliant. Leana Heady and Nick Frost are brilliant as their parents. Mix this with the glowing charm between Lowden and Pugh and you’re left with something quite remarkable.
What is also a fascinating enhancement that some audiences may try is to learn about Paige and her family. They all have lived quite remarkable lives around wrestling.
Fighting with My Family is also filled with a lot of warmth and humour which helps further the emotional connection to Paige along her journey. The word of the day is charming when it comes to Fighting with My Family and if you are a fan of films like Rocky, Eddie the Eagle, and Warrior you will find yourself at home here.