Fighting with My Family film review: sister and brother relationship at emotional heart

Jack Lowden as Zak and Florence Pugh as Paige in Fighting with My Family.
Jack Lowden as Zak and Florence Pugh as Paige in Fighting with My Family.

IN his first foray into solo feature film writing and directing, The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant has created a wrestling movie with all the humour and heart of a British family film.

Based on the documentary of the same name, Fighting with My Family follows the Knight family, with parents Rick and Julia (Nick Frost and Lena Headey) and siblings Zak (Jack Lowden) and Saraya (Florence Pugh) running a local WWE wrestling gym in Norwich.

Zak has always dreamt of becoming a WWE star in America.

He and Saraya, with her new stage name Paige, travel to London for an NXT tryout, with the chance of being accepted to train in Florida.

Belittling trainer Hutch Morgan (Vince Vaughn) chooses only one sibling to join NXT, causing a rift in the family as one Knight heads off alone to America and the other stays behind in Norwich with their dream shattered.

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Merchant has employed his keen wit to write a very funny script that gives hilarious moments to every character.

However, he skilfully balances the jokes with the more serious themes of what it means to be part of a family and questions how much support is owed when you yourself are suffering.

Pugh and Lowden are standouts and it is refreshing to see a sister and brother relationship at the emotional heart of a film.

As Merchant had no knowledge of wrestling before starting the project, he has ensured the film is accessible to those with even zero knowledge of WWE.

Fighting with My Family will have you laughing and crying and even the most uninterested invested in wrestling.

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THE ESSENTIALS

Fighting with My Family (M)

Directed by: Stephen Merchant

Starring: Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Dwayne Johnson

Four stars

Review by: Lucy Rutherford

In cinemas March 21