Fighting With My Family: A Fight With Heart | Review

Stephen Merchant's Sundance hit Fighting With My Family had its first screening in the UK last night and to say it was received well would be an understatement.

The film follows Florence Pugh as Saraya Knight who travels to America to fight for her dream of being part of the WWE. Her family are amateur wrestlers who perform at venues around Norwich and are known around town for being oddballs. Saraya was well nuanced and you can see how Florence Pugh understood every inch of her. She was matched by Jack Lowden who played her brother, Zak Knight. His journey is a little less dreamlike, he's faced with the crushing reality of finding a new way to adjust when his WWE ambitions are cut short.

I loved the family dynamic that Stephen Merchant crafted. It encapsulated British humour inside British heart by finding a big story in a small town. Their family may have been a little eccentric compared to most but you can definitely find familiarity in the way they talk to each other and the way they love each other fiercely. From the small clips in the credits of the real family members you can see how Merchant and his actors captured their essence and never once cheapened their narrative.

The comedy was placed well inside a story that's full of emotion and heart. It's an epic underdog story in a truly unconventional setting. I loved the way they explored community, not only were the Knights family to themselves, they were family to the outcasts of society who come to train at their wrestling school. My favourite detail of this was one of Zak Knight's students was blind and is now a professional wrestler.

Merchant did a great job of matching the continuity of reality in the final match, there's a video you can watch HERE that shows you what really happened and so you can see there are moments, like the final speech, that were fabricated for dramatic purposes but also you can see how every movement was planned carefully.

The film stays focussed on its concept; the outcasts can succeed. It's a fun, uplifting story that speaks to those who feel a little misplaced in their chosen field and teaches you to keep on fighting no matter how many times you get knocked back. It's a great edition to the family movie genre with its unique twist of bringing together the successes of American and British comedy and applying it to a universal underdog story.

Fighting With My Family hits UK Cinemas February 27th 2019.

Until next time

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