COLUMN: “Father Stu” is a heartfelt biopic


Drew Coffey

Drew Coffey, Columnist

“Father Stu” was released on April 13, 2022 and was directed by Rosalind Ross. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, Jacki Weaver and Teresa Ruiz.

The film tells the true story of an amateur boxer named Stuart Long, played by Wahlberg, who moves to Los Angeles to find success. While there, he gets involved in the Catholic Church to win over a woman, but through many challenges and obstacles, he is inspired to become a Catholic priest.

To start, Wahlberg gives a career-defining performance that truly shows his range as an actor. He plays the character of Stuart with such a natural complexity, in which the person he was at the beginning of the film is vastly different than who he is at the end.

Wahlberg also gained a significant amount of weight to portray the real-life Stuart Long, making his appearance seem much more authentic.

With the character of Stu comes one of the biggest strengths of this film: its frequent but pure doses of comedy.

The character Stuart offers many funny moments through dialogue and his unorthodox way of acting in the church. These moments allow the audience to relate to Wahlberg’s character as well as the characters around him.

One character that also offers many laughs would be Stu’s father, played by Gibson, who gives a very intimate and delicate performance. The chemistry between Wahlberg and Gibson is one of the main highlights of the film.

However, what truly defines this film is its sincere message.

The film displays a focus on how a person can maintain their faith in God regardless of the many hardships that are presented before them. It delivers this message in a very respectful and accurate way based on the real-life story of Stuart Long.

The way in which Stu’s unrelenting faith positively affects the people of the church as well as his family is also handled very well.

The cinematography of “Father Stu” is very competent and appropriate for the type of movie this is. This film is not trying to impress you visually, but is instead focused on telling an emotional and impactful story about a man who had many obstacles in life yet remained determined in his goals.

As for how “Father Stu” could have been better, the film drags on for just a little bit in the end.

This is not an extreme problem with the movie by any means. However, it just feels as though some scenes could have been shortened to keep a tight and structured narrative.

With this, the film’s inspiring story and heartfelt characters set this film above other biopics like it. In the end, “Father Stu” offers an emotional, humorous and extremely respectful story that honors the impact and life of Stuart Long.

My overall rating: 3.5/5.

Drew Coffey is a freshman television and video production major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]