Despite the fact that this is a very British style film because of the whole wrestling component it should appeal to people over on this side of the Atlantic as well. Based on a true story, it is one of those funny films which also has a heart of gold. A feel good film. What elevates it is the British way about it. Strong writing and acting make this a film worth watching.
The film was written and directed by the great British actor Stephen Merchant (wrote and directed episodes of The Office) and is about a zany British family who are totally invested in the wrestling world. The Knights are all about wrestling. Mom (Lena Headey – from television’s Game of Thrones) and Dad (Nick Frost – Shaun of the Dead, Paul) operate a rather low level wrestling show which travels around smaller cities in England. Their kids, Zak (Jack Lowden – Dunkirk, Mary Queen of Scots) and Saraya (Florence Pugh – Lady MacBeth, The Commuter), both wrestle. For Zak, it is all he wants to do with his life. As such, he and his sister seize the opportunity to try out for a trainer for the WWE.
Shockingly, Saraya makes the cut, but Zak does not. He is crushed. Despite several pleas, Hutch Morgan (Vince Vaughn – The Break-Up, Wedding Crashers) tells Zak he does not have what it takes to make it in the WWE. Saraya is going to travel to Florida to train.
Never having been away from England or he family, this is tough for her. She also has to change her name to Paige to wrestle under. It is totally a time of “who am I” and “do I really want this?” for her. She is nothing like the other girls who have been selected. She is British, they are American. She has dark hair, they are all blonde. Saraya/Paige is an outsider.
I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Really enjoyed it. Despite the fact that I am not a wrestling fan or have even the slightest of interest in it. Really isn’t about wrestling (that is just a plot device to move the story forward), rather it is about family, figuring out what you want to do in life, having to work hard, and what to do when the thing you thought you wanted is taken from you.
The entire cast does really well here. They all handle the dramatic moments as well as they do the comedic ones. Lena Headey is certainly playing a different woman than Cersei. Nick Frost shows once again that the fact that he is largely an overlooked actor is a shame. Dwayne Johnson is just so likeable! Yes, he is basically playing himself, but still does a good job enjoying plenty of chemistry with his fellow actors and even pokes some fun at the wrestling persona The Rock, which he used as a launching off point for his film career. Nice to see Vince Vaughn step away from his usual character to play one with a few more nuances. The true star here is Florence Pugh. She is great as Paige. Besides the acting, she is totally believable as a wrestler.
Throughout the entire film runs that typical left of center British humour. Done really well, you will find yourself laughting out loud loads.
-Deleted & Extended Scenes
-A Family’s Passion: A Making Of
-Learning the Moves
-Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Stephen Merchant (Director’s Cut)