"Fighting with My Family" Review
Fighting with My Family has a central message of hope, following your heart and overcoming family struggles that mostly cancels out or renders moot any strong argument against it. Its title certainly is an apt description, because you can bounce a quarter off the tension in this movie. As a member of a highly dysfunctional family, I am a sucker for movies that depict them well on screen.
Unfortunately, most of the humor doesn't land for me. I know it is not listed as a comedy, but I was not laughing like I felt I was supposed to. Maybe there is a cultural barrier that prevented me from appreciating the hilarity, but, in my opinion, the film could not quite find its stride in the comedy department. The family also has thick English accents, so it was a little strenuous for me to decipher everything they were trying to say.
I found most of the characters interesting and compelling. I particularly liked the sibling dynamic, although there were times when I became unconvinced of the degree to which the brother, actor Jack Lowden as Zak Knight, resented his sister. I know that pro-wrestling was his dream too, but she is your sister for heaven's sake. I found him to be rather irritating at times, but I suppose the work he did at the training camp rounded him off and made him a little more likeable.
I give this movie a lot of credit for being a movie about wrestling (the most virile, male-oriented sport there is), yet still making me feel something. This film had a lot of emotional payoff, even though the script laying the groundwork for these characters felt thin or unwieldy in places. I was invested in the character arc of Paige and how she became a professional wrestler, even though I, although WWE-adjacent growing up, never took a deep plunge into the mechanics and backstage politics of it like my friends did. However, this movie gave me more of a respect for wrestling ("it's fixed, not fake," etc), and I'm glad to see the sport is becoming less male-dominated because of superstars like Paige.
Ultimately, this film surprised me and kept me engaged, so I‘m willing to give it a decent score. However, I do have some personal hang-ups with the premise because it is, of course, wrestling, and the film, although it gave me a newfound respect for the sport, did not completely undo my aversion to it. Some of the script choices and humor also did not particularly win me over either.
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