Father Stu

April 13, 202240/1006 min
Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson. Annet Mahendru, Jacki Weaver
Written by
Rosalind Ross
Directed by
Rosalind Ross
Run Time
2h 4min
Release Date
April 13th, 2022
Overall Score
Rating Summary

It seems Mark Wahlberg has taken a likening to making movies based on someone’s real life. I for one think it is a noble thing that he’s doing, but while these stories are worth telling, they don’t always make for good movies. For his latest real life adventure he takes on the story of Stuart Long, an amateur boxer turned Catholic Priest that proves no one is beyond redemption, but is this movie though?

Stuart( Mark Wahlberg) didn’t have the best life growing up. His mother Kathleen (Jacki Weaver) has been there for him always, his father Bill (Mel Gibson) won’t be winning any “father of the year” awards. Stuart is a boxer by profession, but he hasn’t gotten very far in that field and when one blow lands him in the hospital he is told he will need to give up boxing if he wants to stay alive. Stuart’s first reaction is to not give up the one thing he has been decent at in life, but after some persuasion he has decided on a new career which is to become an actor, so L.A. here he comes. Once in L.A, Stuart gets a job at a local supermarket where he is about to meet someone who is going to change his life forever. That moment is not some agent discovering Stuart, but instead Stuart seeing a woman who he believes is “the one”. That woman’s name is Carmen (Teresa Ruiz) and the place he is able to find her is at her church and for this girl Stuart will do whatever it takes to catch her eye. While his intentions might have been to marry Carmen, his introduction to the church changes his plans and instead of reciting his vows to Carmen he is giving his life to Christ as he has found his true calling: priesthood. That plan though gets harder when Stuart is diagnosed with a rare muscle disease, something that will put his new found faith to a real test. Written and directed by Rosalind Ross Father Stu is a film Wahlberg financed himself after hearing the story. The story is inspiring and will no doubt touch people’s lives, but you also get the feeling that a lot of liberties were taken with the story.

It’s not that Father Stu  is a bad movie, but it also isn’t that good. Wahlberg put a lot of effort in playing Long, even gaining thirty pounds to play him. The problem is that Wahlberg is not a good enough actor to play this role. His shortcomings really stick out, especially after being surrounded by the supporting cast that includes veterans like Gibson and Malcolm McDowell.  Wahlberg is not the only one who feels out of place, as Ross makes some interesting choices, like lingering on less interesting parts of the story and not enough on others. Where the film redeems itself in in the process of Long becoming a priest, but it is not enough to lift it up from its many faults that litter the film’s first half. I am glad this movie was made as I know it will help and even inspire some people. That though is not enough to save it from the movie sins it commits.

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