Fighting With My Family

Fighting With My Family joins Isn’t It Romantic as the two surprise hits so far in 2019.

Fighting With My FamilyFighting has a mature, sophisticated appeal that you would never for a moment expect from a film both produced by and starring Dwayne Johnson. Regardless, hunt the trailer down and I fully expect that you will want to get out and see this movie as soon as you have a moment.

In a nutshell, Fighting centers on an English family whose father is an iconic character masking a great deal of charm.  Proudly sporting a mohawk haircut, he is a devoted wrestler who has served time in prison. Supported by a devoted wife, they raise a teenage son and daughter in the hopes that they will qualify for a WWE training program. The strength of the film follows the daughter’s acceptance to pursue a wrestling career while her brother is rejected, leaving the entire family to wrestle with both their hopes and growing disappointment.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the film is filled with some excellent performances, but let’s start with The Rock, who only appears in several scenes. However, with this film based on a true story at a time when he was the dominant professional wrestler in the world, The Rock gives a charming performance as a hero who is not afraid to yell out some harsh but valuable advice to young people who want to follow in his footsteps.

More importantly, what elevates this film to an entertainment level few would expect begins with the family’s father, Patrick, played with warmth by the engaging Nick Frost. A bit overweight, many of you will remember his incredibly funny performances starring with Simon Pegg in The World’s End(2013), Hot Fuzz (2007) and Shaun of the Dead (2004). Here, he is a father who is trying to guide his children to financial success in a tough world.

Lena Headey is wonderful as the mother of the group, and many of you have already recognized her talents after seeing her in the gigantically successful TV series, Game of Thrones. However, this movie belongs to Florence Pugh and Jack Lowden as Paige and Zak.

Mr. Lowden, coming off memorable contributions to such wonderful films as A United Kingdom (2016), Dunkirk (2017) and last year’s Mary, Queen of Scots, is a ball of fire as a brother left in angst with his growing despair after being rejected for the WWE training program. Living with a beautiful young woman and their newborn son, he is an immensely likeable guy who dances on the edge of depression and despair as he is overcome by his seeming insignificance.

And then you have the dominating performance of Saray-Jade Bevis as Paige, a young woman who must travel to Florida to live in a world as strange to her as it was for Columbus in 1492. Having a tough time making friends and left wondering if she has the talent to succeed in wrestling, Paige becomes a wonderous force of nature as you watch her ponder on if she has made a tragic mistake in leaving England.

Yet it is Vince Vaughn who sneaks into this film and follows up his fantastic role in Hacksaw Ridge (2016) with another admirable job in a movie that few would think would grab much public attention. Here he plays Hutch, an employee of the WWE who is assigned to find some worthy young talent who may develop into the next Dwayne Johnson. Firm and straightforward, it is his job to dismiss any participant that is failing to demonstrate the skills or mental attitude needed to become a famous professional wrestler.

As you watch Paige compete with her competition, you will remember her interaction with three beautiful female wrestling aspirants, all of whom are ex-models. One of the most rewarding moments of this film flows from these four women overcoming their distrust of each other by subsequently becoming supportive allies.

So trust me this one time. Sure, while I have once again proven that I prefer to predict Oscar winners in major categories based upon my personal observation as opposed to recognizing odds on favorites, once in a while I stumble into a little-known film that has significant meaning. Fighting With My Family is one of those films.