A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.
For a film looking inside the WWE and heavyweight wrestling competition, the body-slamming and super-macho talk, Fighting with My Family is surprisingly nimble on its feet. Here is a film with a hard exterior —a bit like the Knight family, the film’s subject—in that it would seem a good deal of audiences may not know or truly understand professional wrestling and might be warded off by its theatrics. Gradually the film digs, not towards the muscle but to the heart. British humorist Stephen Merchant, the director, finds a strange, funny, and authentic community in the rituals of wrestling and those in family as well.Instead of something bulky and broad, Merchant’s film is oddly sneaky and cleverly paced. Sometimes it feels like watching a Mike Leigh film, observing the every day of working-class British families along with their hopes and routines. The Knight family members have been loyal followers and practitioners of the sport but as the dreams of the youngest kids (Florence Pugh and Jack Lowden) are faced with the opportunity into WWE, dysfunction interrupts the connectivity and flow of their community. Speaking of which, community plays an essential role in the picture, making it one of the greatest reasons for the film’s big heart. To some, it may be an odd sport with an odd following, but the film truly illuminates how we are able to bond over anything, especially when, ultimately, we are finding belonging and support from other people. Unfortunately, Dove audiences likely will have issues with the language used and the rough action, and with such concerns, the movie does not earn Dove approval.