Fighting with my Family Parent Guide
A movie that's so much fun it might make you interested in professional wrestling...
Parent Movie Review
Fighting with My Family is the touching true story of WWE wrestler Saraya “Paige” Bevis, a young girl from Norwich who dreams of competing at the highest levels of professional wrestling. With help from her father Ricky (Nick Frost), a local wrestling promoter, and mother Julia (Lena Headey), a wrestler herself, Paige and her brother Zack (Jack Lowden) struggle to succeed in the taxing world of wrestling. When the WWE holds tryouts nearby, both Paige and Zack are invited to attend. However, when only Paige is chosen to proceed, Zack takes it hard. Will Paige be able to put aside her brother’s ill feelings and complete the training? And will she be able to see past her own struggles to get the championship belt she has dreamed about for so long?
This movie has a very My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Creed vibe, with all of the quirky family fun of the former and the competitive sport tradition of the latter. As the title suggests, family is very much at the center of this film, and Paige’s friends and relatives have more than enough personality to make the whole movie shine. Individuals are witty but still realistically flawed, making for a really appealing cast of characters. Ricky and Coach Hutch Morgan (Vince Vaughn) stood out for me as some of the funniest characters in the script, but both characters are convincingly complex and have shadows in their past. And Stephen Merchant’s smart, snappy dialogue adds zest to the entire production.
Fighting with My Family is the only thing that has ever given me a flicker of interest in pro wrestling. The great thing about the movie is that you don’t have to know anything about the WWE to have a fun time. Without devoting excessive time to exposition about wrestling, the movie explains everything you need to know naturally and unobtrusively, while also managing to correct common misconceptions about the sport. For example, wrestling is not “fake”, just “fixed”. Outcomes are predetermined, but the performances are brutally difficult and dangerous. One character describes it as “soap opera in spandex”, which certainly seems like a fair description - but only if soap operas require actors to be incredibly talented athletes.
Content concerns are surprisingly minimal. Obviously, parents might be worried about the violence, but it’s made very clear that these moves are designed not to hurt your opponent, but to look impressive. There are quite a few jokes about male genitalia, but nothing too extreme or detailed, and very little else that would be sexually provocative. The film’s PG-13 rating is appropriate: teens will have a good time at this movie, but it is not suitable for children.
Apart from an awful cover of “Taking Care of Business” by BTO, I actually had a lot of fun with this movie. Despite using a fairly predictable sports movie formula, Fighting with My Family manages to be both funny and heartfelt. Much like wrestling, the outcome is predetermined, but the performance is something to see.Directed by Stephen Merchant. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Nick Frost, and Florence Pugh. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release February 22, 2019. Updated February 22, 2019
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Fighting with my Family
Rating & Content Info
Why is Fighting with my Family rated PG-13? Fighting with my Family is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for crude and sexual material, language throughout, some violence and drug content
Violence: As you might expect from a film about wrestling, the film contains a lot of that specific kind of “stage” violence. Normally this is constrained to the sort of punching, kicking, and throwing which is typical of wrestling. However, some stage antics were particularly unsettling, notably one in which a young man is thrown onto a pile of thumbtacks on the mat and is shown picking them out of his back. A barfight is shown, in which several punches are exchanged, an individual throws a pool ball at someone, and threatens several others with a pool cue.
Sexual Content: No nudity is shown. There are a number of jokes about male genitalia, but these are not particularly explicit. One character is briefly teased for having an erection, although it is not shown. An unmarried couple gives birth to a child, but no sexual behavior is shown.
Profanity: There are perhaps a dozen uses of profanity in the “Moderate” category, and another dozen more in the “Mild” and “Terms of Deity” categories.
Alcohol / Drug Use: No drug use is shown, but one character is implied to be selling marijuana (this is portrayed extremely negatively, and other characters are shown talking him out of doing so). One character is shown drinking several beers alone, and this is also portrayed negatively as part of a downward spiral. Several characters in the movie make a point of not drinking, one by choice and one to avoid relapsing into alcoholism.
Page last updated February 22, 2019
Fighting with my Family Parents' GuidePaige has difficulty making friends with the other girls in her training program. How does she handle the situation? Do you think she could have made things easier for herself? How? Part of Paige’s difficulty extends from a certain amount of internalized misogyny about the other girls. How does she address this? This movie highlights the importance of family, quirks and all. Is your family odd in any way? Do other people’s families seem a bit strange to you? How do we come to accept and appreciate our own family’s eccentricities?
Read books about Fighting with my Family
Perfected by Girls by Alfred C Martino is a novel about Mel, the only girl on the high school wrestling team as she deals with misogyny on the team, family expectations at home, and a boyfriend who is pressuring her to have sex. This book does contain some sexual content and dialogue which most parents will see as a negative counterweight to its positive messages.
For a gossipy look at a woman’s inside perspective on pro wrestling, you can try Missy Hyatt’s memoir: Missy Hyatt: First Lady of Wrestling.
John Irving has combined memories of wrestling with meditations on writing in his book, The Imaginary Girlfriend: A Memoir.
Wrestling fans who enjoy the verbal putdowns that are such a big part of the sport will want to read Glenn Liebman’s Body Slams! In-Your-Face Insults from the World of Pro Wrestling.
Related home video titles:
For a comic take on the world of wrestling, check out Jack Black in Nacho Libre
The Marine features John Cena, a WWE celebrity in real life and manages to work wrestling into its (admittedly weak) plot.
A movie about teenagers who want to wrestle is Win Win. It stars Paul Giamatti as a financially stressed lawyer who is earning extra cash by coaching the local high school wrestling team.