“Father Stu” with Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg stars in Columbia Pictures’ “Father Stu” (Photo by Karen Ballard © 2022 CTMG, Inc.)

“God wanted a fighter and he found one” is the tagline of Mark Wahlberg’s latest film, Father Stu. Wahlberg plays Stuart Long, an amateur boxer who, after getting too badly injured, is told his fighting career is over. In a weird twist, Stu decides to move to Los Angeles so he can be discovered and become a movie star.

Stu takes a job at a supermarket, believing it’s the perfect way to be discovered as he can show off his charm to customers. This is where his life takes an unexpected turn when he meets and falls head over heels in love with Carmen (Teresa Ruiz), a devout, devout Catholic teacher who ends her flirtations with bad boys.

Determined to convince her, Stu, a lifelong agnostic, begins to attend church regularly. He even enthusiastically tells Carmen that he will be baptized into the Catholic faith, stating, “Bring the water, I’ll do it right away.”

Carmen truly believes that Stu is sincere and that the couple is going from a simple relationship to becoming serious. Stu’s happiness with Carmen is cut short, however, when a motorcycle accident leaves him desperately clinging to life.

When Stu finally wakes up and begins his recovery, he begins to wonder why he survived such a horrific accident. His friend Ham (Aaron Moten) tells him he believes God saw something in him worth saving and now it’s up to Stu to decide what he has to offer. After deep reflection and soul-searching, Stu realizes he wants to spend his life helping people. He can do it better by becoming a Catholic priest.

Stu’s decision shocks everyone in his life, including his mother (Jacki Weaver) and his tough, grizzled, estranged, alcoholic father (Mel Gibson).

Based on a true story, Father Stu is an inspiring and witty film filled with humor, deep drama and excellent performances. Mark Wahlberg, who also produced the film, gives his best performance since The fighter as Stu Long, a likeable, bold, and tough individual who finally discovers the life he was always meant to lead. Wahlberg’s portrayal doesn’t shy away from Stu’s more boring and obnoxious character traits while capturing the man’s wit and determination.

Mel Gibson steals nearly every scene he’s in as Stu’s estranged father, Bill, a man who tries to diminish and tear down anyone and everything Stu looks up to or looks up to. The scenes shared by Gibson and Wahlberg are intense, moving and even humorous at times.

Jacki Weaver is wonderful as Stu’s mother, Kathleen, who just wants her son to be happy, healthy, and to stop his self-destructive behavior. The scene where Stu tells him that he has become a priest is both funny and surprising.

With top-notch performances, plenty of humor and some divine moments, Father Stu is a popular and moving film.


MPAA rating: R for language throughout
Duration: 2 hours 4 minutes
Release date: April 13, 2022
Directed by: Rosalind Ross
Studio: Columbia Pictures

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