Here is my Father Stu 2022 Movie Review, a biographical drama film starring Mark Wahlberg. Should Father Stu be on your watchlist? Let’s find out…
Father Stu 2022 Movie Review
Father Stu is a 2022 American biographical drama film written and directed by Rosalind Ross. It is based on the true-life story of boxer-turned-priest Stuart Long. It is also Ross’s feature directorial debut.
This follows the life of Father Stu Long, a boxer-turned-priest who made a huge impact on the community he served in his journey from self-destruction to redemption.
Mark Wahlberg comes almost unrecognizable in this movie. We see him go from a very fit boxer to slightly pudgy to them way more fluffy, and the makeup and the prosthetics that they use absolutely transform the actor. But this movie really isn’t about an external transformation.
We first meet Stu as a kid, singing and dancing along to Elvis with the disapproving and overbearing comments from his father, played by Mel Gibson. This quickly transitions to Stew in the boxing ring as he gains victory after victory.
He’s a bit cocky and overconfident, but he’s got the seemingly never-ending supply of go to his dreams and his ambitions. There’s been a tragedy in his life which creates a huge space in him that’s filled with sadness and then even anger.
After some unfortunate incidences, Stu decides that he’s going to move to Hollywood to become an actor because that’s his true calling. And even despite the massive struggle to get any part, we still see this hopeful confidence that’s overflowing from Stu.
He can’t be told no. And even if somebody does say no, he just sees that as the challenge to keep talking and looking for a different angle.
He meets a girl one day and then follows her to Church. And that sounds like he’s stalking her, but it comes across way sweeter than that in the story.
There is a lot of humor to be had by watching this gruff and this outspoken guy interact in a Church that’s pretty much filled with reserved and conservative-minded people.
After a lot of time, Stu begins to connect with the girl he saw. But the story then takes his hard right turn and thrusts more tragedy into Stu’s life.
He experiences an accident and he hears this calling to become a priest. And the rest of the film then follows Stu on this journey. I missed all sorts of obstacles.
Wahlberg is wonderful in this. I mean, his AW shucks boyish charm works really well with the rough around the edges every man, and I love that the transition we see in Stu isn’t something that’s massively dramatic.
It’s not like they went from the absolutely horrible person to a priest. I mean, the shift isn’t that huge, but where the power of the story comes in is in Stu’s pursuit to become a priest. He knows and believes that that’s what he’s called to do.
But around just about every turn, he’s met with some sort of opposition. There’s family opposition, and Mel Gibson and Jacki Weaver play his parents and they are a formidable force against the Church. And just like Stu, they have huge tragedy in their lives and as a result, they have zero need or place for anything religious.
Jacki Weaver is so great to watch. She is both sympathetic to Stoop but also antagonistic. Her frustration and concern come across as genuine as she wants the best for her son, but also can’t wrap her head around his decision and they can’t really support it even though she wants to support him.
And we see that struggle in Weaver’s eyes and I think she’s very convincing. It’s so great to see Mel Gibson back in a role that allows him to shine. He was spectacular as this grieving and very antagonistic figure in Stu’s life.
Their relationship is crap, I mean, to say the least. But Gibson, amidst the anger and hurt that are shown, also is able to carry this warmth and regret within his expressions. So even if his actions and words say one thing, his eyes and his shoulders just say something to the contrary.
The dynamic that all three share feels very genuine and believable. We’re not meant to like them all or at the same time, but there are clear moments where each becomes sympathetic and we feel for them.
The film is beautiful to look at, but there are points that feel more self-indulgent for the filmmaker by lingering on a character just staring off into the sky for longer than necessary.
This doesn’t happen often, but there were points like this that made the film feel longer than it was, and it’s a decently long drama at 2 hours and four minutes.
I don’t think much could or even should be cut from this. I mean, just a few sequences here and there that weren’t actually progressing the narrative forward.
And this includes the ending scene of the film. It was a sweet or even reminiscing scene, but it felt a little out of place, at least visually. I mean, the tone and what it represented were totally on point.
And that’s something I really appreciate about this story is the tone. I mean, it’s never pandering, nor is it preaching. We’re watching one character’s progression on a path that he believes he should be taking, and because he’s a fighter, he’s going to use every bit in his power to accomplish his goal, whether that be arguing with the Bishop of a seminary, a girl he hopes to woo, his parents who don’t agree with his direction, or even God when Stu feels abandoned.
This is an inspiring story, and even if you take all of the religious elements out of it, which there aren’t a ton of anyway, I mean, the core story is a man whose life is heading in one way and he decides to make a change, but to do so means a complete 180 and also a lot of opposition. Is he willing to make those sacrifices? And if he does, will the end result be worth it.
This does have a fairly predictable arc to it, but for me, I found that comforting. There were certain elements and moments that I didn’t see coming but I entered this movie in the hopes that it was going to ultimately be a feel-good drama even if there was sadness that came along the way.
The story is uplifting and it’s heartwarming with a compelling central character with so much charisma and charm that it’s almost impossible not to root for him. I mean, even despite all his very obvious flaws.
Walbert captures the fight and struggle of humility against hubris and anger so convincingly that we can feel sad we never got the opportunity to meet the real father Stu.
Overall, this is a well-crafted inspiring, and uplifting drama about a flawed fighter who used his passion to care for others. His path towards priesthood is chronicled well showcasing the struggles that Stu faced both from inside the Church and outside.
Wahlberg, Gibson, and Weaver all spectacular to watch and their dynamic, while it is dysfunctional, also captures sweetness and love and even though the film feels a little longer than is necessary, the story we’re told will warm your heart and hopefully inspire you to follow your calling whatever that happens to be.
There’s very brief sex, no nudity, a ton of profanity, and some intense violence.
I am going to give Father Stu 2022 4/5
What’s an inspirational movie that you love to watch. Let me know in the comments below.
Guys thank you so much for reading Father Stu movie review. see you next time.