This uplifting sports comedy-drama follows WWE wrestler Paige and her real-life journey from holding small matches with her family in England to becoming a worldwide superstar.
Fighting with my Family not only retains some rare, real genius in its humor that all audiences will love, but also delivers a touching and exciting story that will keep you rooting for the characters from beginning to end. Though Paige’s story isn’t a “shocking” or “never seen before” one, the movie lets you forget that it at times has some familiar aspects by delivering a heartfelt script that won’t take you of the scene for a second. Florence Pugh perfectly embodies her character, who is passionate, tough, and isn’t always set on looking “pretty” but not afraid to fight rough, and Pugh really brings some soul to the role as well. Jack Lowden also delivers some great heart as her brother who has an important role in the story that will also make you legitimately care for him and the relationship between the two siblings. Nick Frost and Lena Headey are not only outrageously hilarious parents who love wrestling as much as their kids, and bigger are cast to get some bigger names out there, but they feel like truly loving and supportive parents, despite their outgoing personalities. That’s where the film’s true strength comes — even when the movie goes for monstrous laugh-out-loud moments, it never forgets to deliver some true heart and soul at the same time, which makes it a terrific theater experience in both the enjoyment aspect, and the actual quality the film delivers. Vince Vaughn, who is normally a comedic performer, is surprisingly in the serious role here, and he excellently takes on a coach who goes hard on his wrestlers because he clearly cares about their future in the sport, and also has some down-to-earth moments with the main roles. And wrestling legend Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has some very memorable appearances that remind us why he is such an icon in both the wrestling and film industries, and its nice to see him go for a more inspirational role than just the badass running from explosions, even if his role in this film is minimal.
Fighting with my Family proves an excellent debut for Stephen Merchant behind the camera, who, like I said, perfectly balances humor with some authentic substance and strong writing that will make you fall in love with the characters. Even though you can tell how the climax will end, this movie will have you constantly laughing out loud but also cheering for the leading character of Paige thanks to some great performances and an ultimately uplifting and cheerful experience you won’t want to forget.
Free Solo is a documentary that follows Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to free solo climb El Capitan — in other words, climbing up the rock without a harness or anything to protect him from the deadly consequences of falling.
I’m not a huge watcher of documentaries but I’m very glad I didn’t miss this one and was able to catch it in IMAX. Not only are the climbing sequences very impressive and the visual scale is worthy of a big screen watch, but the movie is able to pull you into the story on an emotional level that not many scripted films this year have reached. Alex Honnold is displayed as an inspiration to everyone who has an insane amount of passion and those who dream to one day set the bar higher. His love of his hobby and eventual profession really connected to someone like me who would also want to one day make a profession out of my love of films, in my case. But not only does Honnold teach us to believe in the impossible, but the movie also shows us a different side of things in a very powerful way, like the emotional toll the buildup to the climb takes on his friends, crew, and girlfriend, who must prepare for the possible outcome that he may not survive the climb. Ultimately, when the movie reaches its climax, your heart will be pounding as you watch the incredible final few minutes of the film that are boasted by reactions from the crew as they watch, as well as a strong score from Marco Beltrami, and even if you know how it will end, the journey there is a damn lovely one.
Free Solo is a must-watch documentary that deserved its win at the Oscars in every sense. It’s amazingly done and inspiring on both a technical and emotional level, and had me engaged for every minute of the film. The film and its subject remind us that there will always be people passionate and daring enough willing to break barriers and set the bar higher.