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Professional wrestlers like Dwayne Johnson, John Cena, and Dave Bautista have successfully made the leap from the ring to the movie screen, but the film industry has histically paid little attention to the place where they all came from. That changes this weekend with Fighting With My Family the true story of Saraya Knight, who grew up around wrestling, and then followed her dream to become a superstar in the WWE. While opinions about sports entertainment as an industry tend to vary wildly, opinions about this movie do not. It's good. CinemaBlend's review came from Mike Reyes who gave the film three and a half stars saying...
Fighting With My Family is a smackdown between humor and heart, telling a story that inspires and entertains with a unique blend of tones.
Mike's opinion tends to be shared by most reviews. The film currently sits with a 93% fresh score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. That actually puts it one point higher than this weekend's other wide release, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (though the animated film has significantly more reviews to its credit).
One potential issue that Fighting With My Family may have to deal with at the box office is that not everybody finds the WWE's product all that interesting. However, the Boston Globe says one of the reason's the film succeeds is that you can still enjoy it even if you're not a wrestling fan.
It's the mark of many a standout sports movie that you don't necessarily have to be a fan to enjoy the story. The real-life pro wrestling portrait Fighting With My Family is a hugely entertaining case in point.
Fighting with My Family follows Saraya Knight (Florence Pugh) as she leaves her native England for the WWE's Performance Center in Florida and trains to become a superstar. She has experience in the world of the predetermined sporting event, but she's not really prepared for the "reality" of the WWE.
Making a fairly traditional "inspirational sports movie" out of an activity where the results are predetermined many seem like an odd combination, and Richard Roeper would agree, but he believes the movie pulls it off.
It's quite a trick to pull off such an authentic sports movie about a world in which every match really IS fixed.
Fighting With My Family is both an inspirational tale of following one's dreams, and a conveniently timed piece of WWE PR to hype the women's division as something they take seriously now.
Most reviews frame their view of the film as a "sports movie;" It's a pretty tried and true genre that traditionally combines a character or characters fighting against the odds of success, and uses the sport itself as the action set piece to give the story a bit of action and built in drama.
While most are calling Fighting With My Family a better than average sports movie, it is still a pretty traditional example of the genre, so if you're not one for tropes, it's possible you might agree with THR, who felt that the film was just another example of a tired genre.
A couple of scenes with The Rock don't energize a run-of-the-mill sports story.
As somebody who has been a fan of WWE since I was nine-years-old, and actually watched parts of Fighting With My Family when they happened on live TV, I was already on board with the movie from the beginning, nut I would agree with most reviews that it definitely has a little something that elevates beyond the standard biopic. The story of WWE's Paige is one worth seeing, and it's also not terrible that professional wrestling is given it's first serious movie treatment. Just because the outcome is predetermined, doesn't mean the drama is any less real.