An underdog from the UK fights in the WWE
“Fighting With My Family” is based on a true story of Saraya-Jade Bevis, who became the youngest Divas champion at the age of 21, after years of professional wresting in her family’s wresting promotion “World Association of Wresting,” or “WAW” for short. The movie, written and directed by Stephen Merchant (who has a small role in the film), is no sports masterpiece, but it offers a lot of laughs and heart, both of which allow British and American movie-goers to root for the characters.
Set in the U.K., Saraya (Florence Pugh, best known for “Lady Macbeth”), her brother Zak Zodiac (Jack Lowden), and their parents (Nick Frost and Lena Headey) have all dreamed of being part of the WWE for years.
Then they receive a phone call from a WWE coach named Hutch Morgan (Vince Vaughn), who offers Saraya and Zak a chance to try out. However, out of all the contestants, he only chooses Saraya to compete for the WWE Divas Championship. She’s upset he can’t take Zak, but even if Zak encourages her to go for he, he’s more upset. The wresting association will never give him another chance to try out, especially since he has a newborn baby to take care of.
Meanwhile, down in Florida, USA, Saraya, changes her wresting name to Paige (named after Rose McGowen’s character on “Charmed”), and starts to feel deteriorated by the challenges and hurtful words from the other contestants.
“Fighting With My Family” is relatable to British and American movie-goers, mainly because they love wresting, because they love sports dramas, because they find the humor hidden inspire, and because Dwayne Johnson produces and co-stars as himself. It’s relatable to me because of how funny and emotional it is, and because of the fine performances from Pugh, Lowden, Frost, Headey, and Vaughn.
The centerpiece does get cynical and a little slow. Mainly because of the cliche that all would-be stars have to get their spirits crushed and to give up their dreams. It may have been based on a true story, but these elements went on a little long and left me aggravated.
But once we get over all this nonsense, we see “Fighting With My Family” as a humorous and heartbreaking opportunity to prove that no matter what you look like and where you come from, you can still accomplish great things. The gist is: don’t judge a book by its cover.