This week on Blu-ray/DVD and digital from writer/director Stephen Merchant is a story of family, friends and a little bit of wrestling when “Fighting with My Family.”
The Knight family is a little different than most families living in England. Led by Dad Ricky Knight (Nick Frost) and Mom Julia (Lena Headey), their kids Zak (Jack Lowden) and Saraya (Florence Pugh) go around the country with their own brand of wrestling to take care of the family.
Their goal is getting the WWE to watch a tape of their wrestling so that Zak and Saraya can get their shot. In the meantime they all do their part and even teach other kids about wrestling.
One day they get the call they have been waiting for when the WWE come to town giving Zak and Saraya a chance to show what they’ve got. Getting a few pointers from The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), they are excited to begin. Judged by Coach Hutch (Vince Vaughn), it doesn’t take long before a decision is made and Saraya changes her name to Paige and heads to Florida to NXT training.
The Knight family is beside themselves and their business also begins to pick up. Paige is having a difficult time with training and isn’t sure who she is in this wrestling world as it’s nothing like back home. She isn’t getting much in the way of friendship from the other girls Jeri-Lynn (Kim Matula), Kirsten (Aqueela Zoll) and Madison (Ellie Gonsalves).
When it all seems to be falling apart, Paige must learn who to trust, who to listen to and what to believe about herself if she is ever going to be a true Diva!
Pugh as Saraya aka Paige is a fighter that comes from a family who believe in everything wrestling. They live and breathe it only wanting to be a part of something that they see as their salvation. Pugh portrays Paige as a young woman that wants to please everyone and at the same time doesn’t quite know how to fit into this world she was raised on. Her performance is strong and sweet at the same time, just like her character.
Lowden as Zack believes in wrestling with his heart and soul. Putting everything into it and then expecting a family of his own, he wants to succeed and make their lives easier. There comes a time when he sees his life turning on him and after losing one brother to prison could quite easily follow. The truth isn’t easy but needed to be heard.
Vaughn as Hutch is a hard-ass coach who doesn’t take excuses and certainly doesn’t dish out sympathy. He has one job and that’s to make the incoming WWE wrestlers steadfast and with their eye on the prize. Vaughn gets a chance to show that he can play someone who doesn’t have the luxury of being emotional. I like him in this role.
Frost as Ricky is a Dad who came from a questionable early life but turned it all around. He raised his family to do everything together, include wrestling, and doesn’t mind one bit if they all seem a bit different than everybody else. Headey as Julia is a Mom to beat all Moms, seeing wrestling as something that saved her life she also is a Mom who wants her children to be happy no matter what ever path they chose to follow.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gets a chance to steal a few scenes and I loved when he was. Especially the scene when Zak and Paige meet him for the first time – a geek out moment that he responds to as only he can.
Other cast includes: Thea Trinidad as AJ Lee, Paul Wight as Big Show, Stephen Farrelly as Sheamus, Josh Myers as Bruiser, Stephen Merchant as Hugh, Hannah Rae as Courtney, Jack Gouldbourne as Calum, Elroy Powell as Union Jack, Mohammad Amiri as Ez, Leah Harvey as Hannah and a special appearance by John Cena.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer go to www.uphe.com.
The Blu-ray/DVD bonus features include “Deleted & Extended Scenes,” “Gag Reel,” “A Family’s Passion: A Making Of,” “Learning the Moves” and “Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Stephen Merchant.”
“Fighting with My Family” is a look at an unusual family I see as not so unusual. They definitely have their own style and outlook but they have found something that joins the family together. What makes me laugh the most is they don’t care who doesn’t understand their love of wrestling and personally go out of their way to explain it all and reel in almost anyone.
Each member of the family believes in the other no matter what mistakes are made and reaches out to those who see themselves as different embracing them. I just love watching Zak and Saraya teach these kids how to be part of a group, a team and don’t believe in limitations.
It’s an amazing story about a family to be sure but also about Paige, a young girl who takes on the WWE world but takes a tough road to find her place and that makes the victory all the sweeter.
In the end – meet and outsider who changed the game!