“Wrestling is like soap opera in Spandex.” This and many such quirky lines are a part of this film’s narrative based on a die-hard wrestler family from Norwich, England. The film opens and ends with wrestling, but you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy it. That’s because director Stephen Merchant never lets the sport take over the film’s emotional fabric.
Bound by strong performances, ‘Fighting with my Family’ is full of endearing moments between a family that eats together, fights together and lives together. Leading the pack is the film’s protagonist Florence Pugh, who plays the feisty Paige. Whether it’s the hardcore wrestling scenes or the emotional exchanges with her sibling, Pugh doesn’t miss a beat. She looks strong and vulnerable at the same time. Ditto for Jack Lowden, who lives the character of Zak with all honesty, reflecting his internal conflict and pain. But it is Vince Vaughn’s understated portrayal of coach Hutch Morgan that shines the brightest. Even the special appearance by ‘The Rock’, is well utilized with a quite an impactful entry scene. He gets some cool lines that enhance his larger than life screen presence. Rest of the cast performs well.
While there are clichés like the training montages, the sibling conflicts that get resolved conveniently and the underdog angle, there are also nuanced differentiators. For example, the former models competing with Paige are not stereotyped as dumb blondes. In fact, their roles are sensitively written and the confrontation scenes between the girls are amusing, inside and outside the wrestling ring. Film’s pace gets a bit sluggish in parts, but the oddball family dynamics come to the rescue. There is a constant flow of organic humour, seamlessly written into the characters.
For a film on wrestlers, there aren’t too many actual fight scenes, but as an entertainer, it delivers a knockout punch and wrestles its way to your heart.