WWE Studios’ newest film, Fighting With My Family, hits theaters on February 22nd, 2019. The film company has never been accused of producing Oscar-worthy content. Yes, there are some gems in its arsenal, but mainly its catalog of films are either mind-numbing, over-the-top action films or campy re-hashed horror films. But Fighting With My Family may be the first film that breaks this trend and earns Vince McMahon’s enterprise its first dramatic award contender.
Fighting With My Family is a dramatization of the story of Saraya Bevis (portrayed by Florence Pugh), who is a current WWE female superstar under the name Paige. Not many wrestling fans know that Saraya came from a family of wrestlers. Her father, Ricky (Nick Frost), and mother, Julia (Lena Headey), manage their own wrestling territory in England. Saraya and her brother, Zak (Jack Lowden), were trained at a very early age to become professional wrestlers. When Saraya and Zak are given a chance to audition for the WWE, it is a dream come true for both. But as with any good drama, only one gets their dream, while the other has their dream shattered. Saraya comes to America as the outcast, learning what it takes to become a WWE superstar, while Zak is left in Norwich, attending to his newly born child and bitter as to what has happened.
In essence, Fighting With My Family is a dual story. While the story of how Saraya became one of the women who led the “Women’s Revolution” in the WWE is the main draw, I found that the story of how Zak struggled to deal with losing his childhood dreams while becoming a new dad, as equally compelling. I feel like the writing staff behind this film really did a nice job with it. While it was a contrast in a lot of ways, there were similarities. Both found themselves questioning what was in their hearts, and both found ways to overcome their trials and tribulations.
While this film is a telling of the life of the Bevis family, it is pretty obvious that the writing took on a little of the WWE flair for storytelling, as the facts are a lot different than what the film portrays. In the movie, Saraya only wrestled for her parent’s promotion before getting a tryout. However, she had a very successful run in several promotions. The film also shows her earning her WWE spot at her first tryout, but in fact, she failed her first attempt in 2010. There were other liberties taken, but those are beyond the point of this review.
As a true wrestling fan, I give this film a solid five out of five stars. The storytelling, while not historically accurate, was very good. The story is a great example of triumphing over your adversities. It shows that even if you cannot make your dreams come true, you have to dust yourself off and find your true calling in life.
Fighting With My Family, in my opinion, may be the film that gets WWE Studios its first Oscar nod. I know that is a bold statement, but when the nominees are announced, I can always say, “And that’s the bottom line, cause Jason Kittrell said so.”