Over the weekend, a British film critic reviewing the film Fighting With My Family made a strange reference to the “chunky thighs” of the film’s star, Florence Pugh. In the film, Pugh starred as Paige, the WWE star.
Once the review, written by critic Charlotte O’Sullivan in The Evening Standard, was published, Pugh almost immediately responded on Twitter, stating that she hoped people who see the film have a greater takeaway than “the circumference of my hams.”
Now, Paige herself has responded to the review.
“Wow I’m actually appalled [at] this,” Paige said on Twitter, while quote-tweeting Pugh’s earlier tweet.
In Fighting With My Family, Pugh stars as Paige, whose real name is Suraya-Jade Bevis, a professional wrestler from Norwich, England, who suddenly arrived on the WWE scene in 2014 and won the WWE women’s championship in her first-ever match. Paige has since retired from active in-ring competition.
The film, directed by comedian Stephen Merchant and produced by WWE Studios, tells the story of how Paige, whose parents (Nick Frost and Lena Headey) were also professional wrestlers, became an unlikely WWE star. The film shows Pugh-as-Paige in her WWE training, with a character played by Vince Vaughn, and her interactions backstage with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who plays himself and also served as an executive producer.
Merchant, the director, has said in interviews that he had never watched professional wrestling prior to his work on the film, although he authored an op-ed in The Guardian last week about “spandex snobbery,” while criticizing the reluctance of prestige media in the U.K. to ever cover developments in pro wrestling.
Another major plot in the film involves Paige’s brother Zak (Jack Lowden), who also dreamed of becoming a big-time pro wrestler but was rejected by WWE, even as his sister had quick success. This leads to resentment between the two of them.
Fighting With My Family, while not a huge box office success in the U.S., is now the number one film in the U.K., as Paige also tweeted this weekend. The film was adapted from a documentary called Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family, which was directed by Max Fisher.
The film did, however, earn mostly positive reviews, with a 91 percent positive score on Rotten Tomatoes and an 89 percent audience score.
“Much like the sport it celebrates, Fighting with My Family muscles past clichés with a potent blend of energy and committed acting that should leave audiences cheering,” the critical consensus on that site said.