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Fighting with My Family

Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Fighting with My Family Movie Poster Image
Some language, lots of pro wrestling in funny biopic.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie is all about familial love and support, especially through tough times. Courage, perseverance, and loyalty are spotlighted. People rebound from mistakes by acknowledging them and changing their behavior.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The whole family is supportive, loving, and non-judgmental. Raya/Paige has to dig deep down physically, mentally, and emotionally to pursue her dream. (In real life, wrestler Paige was hacked and had several sex videos posted online, but none of that is included in the film.)

Violence

Extensive pro-wrestling action (including staged face smashes, chokes, throws, kicks, etc.) -- kids may  need to be reminded not to copy it at home (even trained professionals get hurt executing such stunts). Also occasional real fighting, including a bar brawl in which billiard balls and cues are used as weapons.

Sex

No nudity, but the parents are very into each other. An unplanned pregnancy is part of the story. Very skimpy outfits on some of the female wrestlers -- in the ring, in training, at the pool, etc. Use of crude/sexual terms in dialogue (see "Language").

Language

Occasional rough language, including British slang ("bloody," "wanker," "bollocks," "stiffy," etc.). Also "s--t," "crap," "ass," "c--k," "penis," "dick," "ball bag," etc. Talk of a wrestler's genitals being exposed during a match and another getting an erection while training with a female wrestler.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mention of previous drug use by parents. A coach catches a teen dealing drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fighting with My Family is a fact-based dramedy about a wrestling family from Norwich, England. Based on the life of WWE superstar Paige, it centers on Raya (Florence Pugh) and her brother, Zak (Jack Lowden), who were raised by hard-living wrestler parents (Lena Headey, Nick Frost) and aspire to join the WWE. Expect some racy humor, a fair bit of strong language (including both British slang and words like "s--t," "d--k," "c--k," and more), minor teen drug dealing, and skimpy outfits. There's also a lot of pro-wrestling action (including staged face smashes, chokes, throws, kicks, etc.), as well as more realistic fighting that happens outside the ring. Underneath the rough stuff, though, are strong messages about courage, perseverance, and familial loyalty and support. Writer-director Stephen Merchant also co-stars, along with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Vince Vaughn

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAustin G. January 26, 2019

Under Embargo

I've been under embargo since January 24, 2018. All I can say is that it's a great film, despite the trailers making it look less-so.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Based on the true story of pro-wrestling superstar Paige, FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY follows a family of rough-hewn wrestlers from Norwich, England. Young Raya (Florence Pugh) doesn't look like the standard WWE supermodel/grappler, but wrestling is in her blood. It's also in the DNA of her loving brother, Zak (Jack Lowden), and adoring-parents-with-sketchy-pasts Julia and Ricky (Lena Headey, Nick Frost). When Raya gets her shot at joining the WWE, can she make it through Coach Hutch's (Vince Vaughn's) demanding program and join the galaxy of WWE stars such as The Rock (Dwayne Johnson as himself)?

Is it any good?

This funny, heartfelt movie represents a huge step up for WWE Studios. To date, World Wrestling Entertainment has mostly been a conveyor belt for violent macho fantasies (The Marine through The Marine 6: Close Quarters) and low-bar humor (Santa's Little Helper, Jingle All the Way 2). Fighting with My Family is something totally different -- a genuinely well-made film about a family. That's due largely to the writing and direction of Stephen Merchant, who's probably best known for co-creating the original version of The Office. Merchant's script follows the contours of a scrappy-underdog sports movie, but it's also filled with quirky details about Raya/Paige's family (all wrestlers) and class differences in England. Before Zak brings his fiancée's parents over for dinner, for example, he begs his parents to clean up their act a little. He asks of his dad, "Can he put on a shirt?" To which jolly, mohawked, alcoholic ex-con Ricky bellows, "How posh are they?" Most importantly, Merchant and his cast convincingly create a family. Viewers believe that these people have loved each other forever and that this is a lifelong dream.

Pugh is great in the lead role. She allows herself to be "unpretty," both physically and in the mistakes Paige makes. As her loving but deeply frustrated brother, Lowden (Dunkirk) is charming and complex. Both seem headed for big things. Headey and Frost are endearing and lively as their parents, Vaughn is well-cast as the tough coach, and Merchant is funny in a small, all-reaction role as the fiancée's dad. The movie's wrestling action, including the training, is enjoyable. While it may be hard to deeply invest in the outcome of fixed matches (just don't call them "fake," at least not around Paige's clan), the film sufficiently involves us in Paige's struggles so that predetermined "winning" and "losing" outcomes are secondary to the experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Fighting with My Family. Does the fact that the wrestling action is staged affect how you reacted to it? Did the movie have an impact on your opinion of pro wrestling?

  • How do the characters and their journey show the importance of courage and perseverance?

  • What would you say are the movie's themes? What did you think of Raya's unconventional family?

  • If you're familiar with the WWE, you knew going in that Raya would become a star. How did it affect your experience of the film? Did it still hold any suspense for you? Were you able to lose yourself in the moments of her struggle?

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