(2019) 108 mins
Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige (Florence Pugh) and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE.
Paige's journey pushes her to dig deep and ultimately prove to the world that what makes her different is the very thing that can make her a star.
Director Stephen Merchant (The Office) is drawing on a true story, one already told in Max Fisher’s equally entertaining 2012 Channel 4 documentary, The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family. This profiles the Knight family, who run their own makeshift organisation, The World Association of Wrestling, from a council house on an estate in Norwich.
One member of the family did indeed make the transition from fighting at events in shabby, half-empty halls in Great Yarmouth to competing in the multimillion-dollar world of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) in the US.
Merchant is the recipient of a casting masterstroke in Florence Pugh, playing Paige. After her 2016 breakthrough performance in the brilliant Lady Macbeth, Pugh was repeatedly described as “the new Kate Winslet” and here she finally delivers on that promise.
The Guardian: "Fighting With My Family is a hugely likable underdog tale, packing plenty of crowd-pleasing comedy wallop, and boasting a smack-down turn from the indomitable Florence Pugh." (4 stars)
The Independent: "Certain scenes feel very trite and predictable but the film gets you in a choke hold early on and won’t let you go. It is far more gripping than its subject matter might suggest. Who ever would believe a story about a wrestling family from Norwich could have quite such heart and resonance?" (4 stars)
The Times: "Stephen Merchant’s film about an American wrestling family is a triumph, with a star turn from Florence Pugh" (4 stars)