WIFVNE occasionally offers advance screening opportunities, provided to the membership from studios. On February 5, WIFVNE members were able to take advantage of an advance screening of Fighting with My Family, starring Dwayne Johnson. There was also a special Q&A with director Stephen Merchant (co-creator of “The Office”) after the screening. Below is a capsule review provided by Victoria Straitt of Goldilocks Productions.
As a film student, I have developed a love of watching peoples’ first reactions and impressions of a film, especially when the audience is captivated by the story. Fighting with My Family did not leave me without. Based on the true story of Saraya “Paige” Bevis’ journey in professional wrestling, Fighting with My Family, fascinated all with the extensive feats women wrestlers must face when attempting to be accepted into the WWE. People were cringing and feeling her pain as ‘Paige’ was dropped on her head and cheering when she was winning the big fight. The film was enjoyable from beginning to end and based on the few people surrounding me whom were on the edge of their seats at one point or another, I highly doubt anyone in the crowd would disagree with me.
Listening to the questions that were asked to writer/director Stephen Merchant were insightful as a developing filmmaker. He explained how to be respectful to what the audience is expecting in a story, while still being able to keep the film realistic from a production standpoint. When listening to a WWE fan ask why they didn’t show more of her at NXT (which in simple terms is a lower, WWE promotional circuit for professional wrestlers), Stephen was patient and understanding of the concerns of a WWE fan. The answer is simply, movies are not exact to real life, mainly because it would take too long for them to shoot. Although we think we want to see every detail of every minute of someone’s story, the truth is sometimes life is overcomplicated and can take away from the main story. However, the team on this film clearly did their research because Stephen knew exactly what details the fan was talking about and explained some details he chose to keep and some that he chose to take a little creative license with. As a filmmaker, it is important to respect the story you are telling, and to create a story within it that will entertain your audience.
I congratulate and thank Stephen, and all involved for sharing this story and executing it so well.
Victoria Straitt is a Senior at Fitchburg State University and an intern at Goldilocks Productions.