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What to know: One of 2019's best movies so far with excellent performances and apt direction.
Recommended age 12-18
108 minutes
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FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY cover image Click to play video trailer
Fighting with My Family is already one of 2019's best movies. Excellent performances and an apt direction make for not just one of the best wrestling movies but documentaries also. This movie truly has something for all audiences.

This docu-drama follows the incredible story of WWE superstar Paige, or Raya Knight (Florence Pugh). Born into a cheerful wrestling family, Raya and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) get a once in a lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE. Raya earns the spot, with Zak being left behind, and Raya having to leave her family behind to compete for the spot as Diva. With rigorous coach Hutch (Vince Vaughn), Raya will be pushed to new limits while Zak faces a test moving on from his dreams. These journeys push them to fight for their family and prove what truly makes a star.

Florence Pugh becomes Raya Knight/Paige with her persistence and wit towards any obstacle being very inspirational. She respectfully adapts Paige and her final speech at WrestleMania looks exactly like its real-life counterpart. Jack Lowden does the same with Zak, my favorite character, as his character arc is so relatable with his struggles to move past his dreams of making the WWE, disregarding his own wife and child. Jack shows excellent range presenting Zak's eventual passion for helping others with his family's wrestling service and taking care of his child. Nick Frost and Lena Headey, as Ricky and Julia Knight, complete the family with their uniquely jovial, but lewd attitudes that only want the best for their children and other people in need. Vince Vaughn, as Hutch, is very impressive providing an inspirational mentor for Raya, as well in his real-life friendship with the Rock. Dwayne Johnson plays himself, enough said. In all seriousness, it is very entertaining and informative to watch his real-life impact on Paige.

Stephen Merchant spectacularly writes and directs, with the events presented in clear chronological order. But the real standout comes from his snappy writing, as all the jokes and emotional moments land. He truly knows how to write human and relatable characters. My favorite scene is when The Rock gives Raya's family a surprise call. Dwayne Johnson and Nick Frost truly give their all in the funniest repartee, while also giving the feels with The Rock presenting his admiration and best regards for Raya. Still, with all the positives, I feel that the film doesn't acknowledge all angles to a boxing match and the matches here feel very simplistic at times. However, the film's main intent is to flesh out the family first and then get into the nuances of the sport, so this flaw isn't particularly egregious.

The message of this film is that a person's character doesn't come from the title they hold, but by one's contribution to help others. Zak holds the strongest example of this. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 due to language and sexual references. The movie is in theaters now, so check it out.

Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Arjun N., age 17

When I heard about this film, I thought, "What a crazy title!" Well, it is not so crazy; it is enchanting. This film is based on a true story and follows the antics of a former wrestler and his family, as they make a living wrestling in small venues in northern England. The family is in the business, and the kids dream of making it in big in the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).

While wrestling is not my jam and the film is slow at times, it captured my heart with big family values - life lessons about believing in oneself and each member of one's family. The sibling wrestlers Saraya (Florence Pugh) and Zak Knight (Jack Lowden) have trained for the big stage of wrestling since they were young. In fact, Zak reminds us that this was his dream since he was three. When they get the call from a WWE scout named Hutch (Vince Vaughn), it is a dream come true. On the other hand, is it?

Florence Pugh is fantastic and I cheered for her throughout the film. Her family brings a lot of comedy and grit to their roles. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is in all the trailers and has some key scenes. He will definitely help sell tickets! It is great to see Vince Vaughn in a positive and upbeat role.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. The stunts are detailed and outstanding. The choreography is flawless. The casting is great. The costumes are authentic and there are many laugh-out-loud lines. You do not have to be clan of grapplers in Norwich, England to like this film! The film screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and opens in theaters nationwide February 22, 2019. Look for it!

By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the competitive training program, she must leave her loved ones behind and face this new cutthroat world alone. 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.
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