Father Stu is a biopic written and directed by Rosalind Ross for Columbia Pictures. Mark Wahlberg serves as a co-producer for the film which was distributed by Sony Pictures.
Montana native and amateur boxer Stuart Long (Mark Wahlberg) is told he can no longer box after a particularly vicious bout. Saying goodbye to his mother Kathleen (Jacki Weaver), he decides to go to Los Angeles where his estranged father Bill (Mel Gibson) lives, though he does not contact him. While working as a butcher, he flirts with Carmen (Teresa Ruiz) but seeing how foul-mouthed and drunk he is, she rebuffs. Determined to win her over, he begins attending Mass but finds it laughable. After a night of drinking, he has a motorcycle accident and a near-death experience that inspires him to become a priest, despite protests from Carmen and his family. Determined, he befriends student Ham (Aaron Moten) and convinces Monsignor Kelly (Malcolm McDowell) to study for the priesthood. However, he soon is diagnosed with IBM, weakening his muscles. This puts his faith and his resolve to the test.
The acting is fantastic. I applaud every cast member for their visceral and touching performances, bringing the story to life. Mark Wahlberg was stellar as Father Stu, he takes on the role of the iconic priest, who tragically died in 2014, with reverence, helping you connect with him.
Personally, I found this movie inspiring. It shows how love, faith, tragedy, suffering, and pain can bring about a spiritual revival within a person. Father Stu’s true story is impactful and while the film dramatizes his story a bit, it was a wonderous tale.
If I could critique the movie, it just felt like it lacked a bit of gravitas. At times, the tension does not feel there and they tried very hard. I could not put my finger on the issue causing the lack of gravitas, but its lingering presence in various scenes was definitely there.
I did appreciate that this film showed that it was Father Stu’s faith that kept him strong. In most Hollywood features, faith is portrayed as something to dismiss, at best, or mock, at worst. It was refreshing to see a movie that portrays faith in a positive light, although it was imperfect.
Bottom line, Father Stu is an inspirational and positive story. Sure, it is imperfect, but the powerful performances and the sharp story are wonderful.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Pervasive foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: Hear me out. All our outer nature’s wasting away. But our inner nature is being renewed every day. This life, no matter how long it lasts, is a momentary affliction preparing us for eternal glory. We shouldn’t pray for an easy life, but the strength to endure a difficult one. Because the experience of suffering is the fullest expression of God’s love. It is a chance to be closer to Christ.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of Uncharted and The Munsters. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.
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