Fighting With My Family is so much better than it has any right to be 2 years ago

Fighting With My Family is so much better than it has any right to be

Even non-wrestling fans will have an absolute blast.

Stephen Merchant is not the first person who comes to mind when you think about someone who both writes and directs a biopic of a WWE star, yet here we are, because one of the creative geniuses behind The Office and Extras is the person responsible for Fighting With My Family.

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Florence Pugh is Saraya Knight, daughter to a wrestler father (Nick Frost) and wrestler mother (Lena Headey), as well as sister to a wrestler brother Zak (Jack Lowden).

They put on some small-scale shows in Norwich, with brother and sister both having the same goal of making it big with World Wrestling Entertainment.

One day, the WWE calls them both up, but after a quick try-out, the federation's coach (Vince Vaughn) picks Saraya, and tells Zak that he hasn't made it.

As her star begins to rise - which includes hanging out with The Rock (playing himself) and some extremely physical training sessions - his life begins to fall apart, having been told that his dream will always be just out of reach.

Knowing how this all ends - Saraya becomes Paige, who becomes one of the biggest names in WWE history - doesn't take away from the tension that the story successfully builds over its merciful less-than-two-hours running time, as Merchant doesn't shy away from some of the darker aspects of the story of Saraya and her family.

However, the movie knows not to stay in the dark too long, with a peppy script keeping things just on this side of the comedy/drama divide.

Merchant is ably supported by his cast - Headey is clearly having a blast playing something other than a villain, while Frost and Vaughn are both incredibly solid.

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The Rock, meanwhile, who really isn't in the movie a fraction as much as the poster and trailer would lead you to believe, is also having some fun here.

Pinning it all together is Pugh herself; tremendously likeable and overflowing with natural charm, benefiting from the same attributes that made Paige a star in the first place.

Her relationship with her brother is quite unlike any we've seen in a movie before, and it is down to Pugh and Lowden's tremendous performances, and not shying away from the honest, sometimes nasty sides that each possess.

This is especially impressive when you consider that this movie is produced by the WWE itself, so you'd automatically assume any potential rough edges would be sanded down immediately.

The best thing you can say about this "fake sport" movie is that it doesn't pull any punches.

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Fighting With My Family is released in Irish cinemas on Wednesday 27 February.

Clip via MGM