The goal of most films is to showcase someone’s heart and soul. There’s always that one particular character audiences are urged to root alongside as their hopes and dreams come true. Fighting With My Family is no different in that regard, but different in many other ways as the film focuses on the world of professional wrestling. Growing up watching professional wrestling I can openly admit that my friend and I had a dream of once becoming part of WCW under the names of our zodiac signs. At some point or another most fans of the sport have had this dream. Thankfully the people truly meant to be in the ring eventually make it even if they struggle to attain status on the main roster initially. They find their way into the ring and win our hearts over or make us frustrated week in and week out via their heel status. Thankfully for fans, a girl named Saraya-Jade Bevis never gave up and inevitably became the woman fans have grown to know as Paige.
Fighting With My Family focuses on the life of Saraya-Jade Bevis (Florence Pugh) before she even had an audition with the WWE. Saraya’s father Ricky (Nick Frost), and mother, Julia (Lena Headey), forced her into the wrestling because a wrestler failed to show up for a show one evening. Hesitatant at first, she quickly adjusted to the rush of the crowds and helping her family put on great wrestling matches within various small venues around England under her family’s WAW organization. Meanwhile Saraya and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) continued to dream of the day they would gain access to WWE’s main roster. Though Saraya must endure many trails and tribulations by herself, she also must help her family face theirs as well all along the journey to attain her dreams. Those who already know Paige’s story knows the outcome of the film, but that does not make the film any less enjoyable to watch.
What I enjoy about Fighting With My Family is the heart that radiates off the screen. Is this an unorthodox family? Yes but that makes us love them even more. We want to see this family succeed because we see how hard they are working to live their dream. We see everyone’s heart as this family endures the wringer of only having one child chosen to go the NXT compound in Florida. The film allows audiences an inside look at rejection, doubt, and fear. The film focuses on questions that everyone has asked themselves at one point or another too. What happens if you cannot attain the dream you have had your whole life? Where does one go next? Zak’s downward spiral is something the family expects, but how does that person pick themselves up afterward? This film explores all those avenues in truly spectacular ways.
Audiences are reminded of the importance of support from both biological family and self made families. Without the support of both we fall into traps sometimes. We struggle more than we have to sometimes. While our perseverance and persistence both play a large part in attaining our dreams, our support systems become equally as important. We need those people to remind us that our anxiety and our fears are wrong. Sometimes we even need them to remind us that we should stay and stand tall as we fight. The film also confirms why sometimes stereotypes should never play a part of judging someone else. People should get to know others even if they have initial assumptions about them. They might be right, but they also stand a good chance of discovering they are wrong in a glorious way.
Likewise, viewers are reminded that those who appear harder on us than normal can sometimes become one of our biggest fans. Hutch (Vince Vaughn) demonstrates this from his introduction until his exit toward the end of the feature. Deep down he wanted Paige to succeed even in the times it might have appeared he was discouraging her. Viewers are reminded that the words we hear along the way ultimately do mean something. They make us fight harder to accomplish something and remain ourselves in our field of choice. Dwayne Johnson reminds both Zak and Paige the importance of not trying to imitate anyone. He insists not to “worry about being the next me, be the first you” upon meeting them. This message is one of the many important messages of the film. We should never lose our voice to become a different version of ourselves when we should have merely remained ourselves in the first place.
Fighting With My Family takes viewers on ride and represents it’s more than okay to have this dream as a young girl. The feature encourages young women to fight for their dreams as well as people. The representation of women growing up and doing what they want in a male dominated field is beyond important. As the film reminds us at the end Paige helped the Women’s Division of the WWE become what it is today. She helped the women leave the term Divas behind and ultimately have the woman also known as Superstars alongside the male roster. By helping morph the Women’s Division into what it is today, the WWE has given women more time on pay-per-views as well as a pay-per-view all to themselves. An all female pay-per-view is nothing I could even fathom growing up, but we have that now. Take your daughters to see this film. Better yet take the entire family because this is a family film a cut above all the rest.
Michelle Patterson prides herself on her random pop culture knowledge. She finds great joy in all things horror related and tries to enjoy movies on a weekly basis. If she’s not at the theater, she can be found at a convention or a concert. To connect with her more, check out her Instagram page, Twitter Page, Facebook Page, or her website.