Fighting with My Family Movie Review
Professional wrestling is pretty dumb if you asked me, but that doesn’t make Fighting with My Family any less enjoyable. Based on a true story, the movie is about a young woman (rebranded as Paige) who is invited to try out for the WWE—a lifelong dream of hers and her family.
Fighting with My Family follows the pretty standard trajectory you’d expect from a sports drama or any “achieve your dream” kind of flick—you know, the sugary kind of movie where a poor kid gets a big break, faces new adversity, and eventually achieves success. “Groundbreaking” is not a term to be tossed around the ring here, nor is “must see” or any other phrase that suggests you need to drop what you’re doing and get to a television set ASAP.
And yet Fighting with My Family works thanks to an energetic, down-to-Earth script and a strong leading performance by Florence Pugh. The story isn’t anything new—granted, there haven’t been many movies about people wanting to become a professional wrestler—but the story is done well, and that is ultimately what matters.
The movie slips into overt cliché a few times—most notably when Paige starts questioning whether she has what it takes and temporarily leaves, something we’ve seen in just about every other film like this just to inject unnecessary conflict—and perhaps worst, fails to explain to non-fans why becoming a WWE wrestler would be a lifelong dream of anyone, let alone an entire family (a friend on Twitter explained it to me better in a single tweet).
But Pugh carries the film well, bringing an earnestness to the role that makes you root for her success. Vince Vaughn, in a supporting role, delivers his best comedic performance in year, essentially taking on the part of Boot Camp commander to throw zingers at those under his heel. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson appears in a couple scenes as himself, and is charismatic as always.
Most importantly, Fighting with My Family is simply entertaining. Groundbreaking though it is not, it’s a fight—fake or not—worth following.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.