March looks like it’s gonna be slow for me movie wise. A couple big tentpoles, but slim pickins otherwise. Well, there’ll be things opening, but I’ve promised myself not to see things without genuine interest, and little of it interests me genuinely. Unless Stardust raves about something I need to see that I was gonna skip. That was the case with Fighting With My Family.
The film tells the story of real life professional WWE wrestler Paige, and how her family raised her and her brother to train and love the sport their entire lives. When the WWE holds tryouts in her home country of England, only she advances to the next stage, leaving her brother behind.
I have zero interest in wrestling. As a kid, I thought it was too violent and fake. Now I see it as a form of theater. I respect it, but it’s not my kind of theater. I love John Cena and The Rock, but I have no interest in their sport. Therefore I had no interest in the film until I heard that it was too good to miss. And I’d hate to miss a good underdog sports film.
And this was more than just a good underdog sports film. It was a good family film. Wrestling was just a backdrop for the family dynamics and the drama that it caused. Without the relationship between Paige and her brother and her parents, we don’t have a movie. It was moving and it was so funny. Stephen Merchant wrote and directed (plus had a perfect bit part in the film) and I loved how bitingly clever some of the dialog was.
I also really connected with the outsider aspect of her character. In the words of Good Charlotte, this was for “everyone who’s ever been called a freak”. Lord knows I have. But Paige let her freak flag fly and it flew her to victory. That kicked me right in the gut and brought me to the verge of tears a couple times.
One thing I love about a good underdog sports film is that it makes you fall in love with the sport, even temporarily. Mighty Ducks gave me hockey. Warrior gave me MMA. I don’t even remotely follow them now, but there was some temporarily piqued interest. This at least had me looking up Paige’s debut fight on YouTube when I got home. And I may have paused writing this to watch her 10 Best Moments compilation. That’ll prolly be the last time I watch, especially since she’s retired due to injury, but it was a fun deviation from my norm. And a good movie does that.
Fighting With My Family – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/