review by Bobby Blakey
Mark Wahlberg has taken on a wide variety of roles throughout his career. As he has grown as an actor he has been very vocal about his Catholic faith as well so his latest film Father Stu is no doubt an important role for him. The film feature a great supporting cast including Jacki Weaver, Teresa Ruiz and Mel Gibson. Could this film bring this powerful true story to life with the faith it deserves or will it fail to deliver its message?
Father Stu follows Stuart Long who moves to L.A. dreaming of stardom when an injury ends his amateur boxing career. While scraping by as a supermarket clerk, he meets Carmen, a Catholic Sunday school teacher who seems immune to his bad-boy charm. Determined to win her over, the longtime agnostic starts going to church to impress her. But surviving a terrible motorcycle accident leaves him wondering if he can use his second chance to help others find their way, leading to the surprising realization that he is meant to be a Catholic priest. Despite a devastating health crisis and the skepticism of Church officials and his estranged parents, Stu pursues his vocation with courage and compassion, inspiring not only those closest to him but countless others along the way.
I love seeing Wahlberg do action, but he has gotten so good at these dramas that I am starting to prefer him in these kinds of roles. This film is one of those true stories that hits all the right notes of redemption, faith, love, struggle and denial. What’s even more interesting is that not all these issues were that of Stu, but those around him as well. His journey from boxer to priest is one that is inspiring and memorable whether you are a religious person or not.
Wahlberg is so good here bringing not only a great performance, but his physical change is amazing. For others getting in shape is the impressive nature, but for him here its gaining weight and being out of shape. That alone showcases his pure dedication to this role with the knowledge of his obsession of health and fitness. His performance sucks you in and you believe in his journey despite having some doubts throughout. The rest of the cast are great as well with Weaver and Gibson playing his parents that are the representation of why he is the way he is. Gibson gets the most meat in this smaller role and the time he and Wahlberg have together is great if not sad to see.
This is one of those movies that really speaks to not only faith but dedication to anything despite the odds. I didn’t know the story of Stu Long so was unaware where it was going, but it is pretty sad and uplifting all at once. There is so much to unravel in his journey and I believe that this film does his life and journey justice.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including deleted scenes, a featurette and more. Grab your copy of Father Stu available now on digital and then on Blu-ray and DVD on June 14th from Sony Home Entertainment.