Fighting with My Family may have heart, but the mind and the soul are nowhere to be found. It’s a yawner, both pedestrian and trite, obviously designed as an extended promotional video for WWE.
The movie is handicapped from the outset by being based on a true story — normally a good thing — which by all appearances is itself not particularly interesting. One wonders whether a documentary on the subject would have been even less compelling. Certainly, embellishment of the story via more adept filmmaking would have resulted in an improved product.
The film’s star, Florence Pugh, is good, of course, but she was a lot more interesting in Lady Macbeth. And despite her performance, the whole thing felt artificial. I never felt like “Paige” had nowhere else to turn. A far cry from The Wrestler, or even Patti Cake$. Her claimed passion was not conveyed.
At one brief moment near the end, Fighting with My Family did strike me on an emotional level, but by then it was too late. An easy skip; two weeks later and I had completely forgotten watching this one. 3/10
Comparison Notes: (all much better): The Wrestler, Patti Cake$, Honey, 8 Mile, The Fighter, Flashdance, The Pursuit of Happyness; not recommended or better: Soul Surfer
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PS on RT: Fighting with My Family has a preposterous Rotten Tomatoes score of 92%. So — another broken meter incident. Anyone who thinks this is a good movie should not be wasting their time looking at my blog. And they should definitely not be a movie critic, professional or otherwise.
By far the best thing about The Blackcoat’s Daughter, which I heard about during a brief theatrical appearance while I was in Grand Junction in 2017, is the poster above.
Haphazard nonsense mixed together by time shifts and flashbacks do not a good movie make. The Blackcoat’s Daughter serves as another case in point for the weakness of nonlinear storytelling. That weakness, more often than not: a very skimpy story at the film’s heart.
A CASE IN POINT FOR THE WEAKNESS OF NONLINEAR STORYTELLING
Lynch talked about the “language of cinema” — but in Lynch’s case, that language still paints a beautiful story. Lesser filmmakers, with little tale to tell, attempt to rely on that language, broken though it may be, to stand on its own. To compensate for lack of story. So I keep beating the drum: without the spine of story, no movie can stand.
Add The Blackcoat’s Daughter to the growing list of A24 films heavy on atmospherics, good acting, and little else. I admit it did mostly hold my attention; there were stretches of the film that were compelling in that what’s-going-to-happen-next kind of way — again, the formula of many A24 releases. 5/10
Comparison Notes (all recommended, and considerably better): Thelma, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Uninvited, Hereditary, The Shining, I Spit on Your Grave