Mark Wahlberg inspires true faith-based story – Deadline
Humor, drama, spirituality, heart and soul are the hallmarks of Father Stu, a perfectly timed true story that’s a faith-based movie by genre but a movie that should have universal appeal thanks to its captivating and unpredictable lead character and the actor who brought his own passion just to bring this story to life. ‘screen.
Mark Wahlberg labored for years to bring Stuart Long’s largely unknown but remarkable journey to the real purpose of his life to the big screen; the actor even put some of his own money into his funding in order to get him there. You can definitely see why, as the role is one of the best Wahlberg has delivered in a career with plenty of highlights. In fact, I’d say it’s his best looking and most attractive screen turn since The fighter. Long is an intriguing and inspiring enough person to wrap up a feature film.
Determined to try his luck in show business, the sometimes implausible and self-confident Long came to Hollywood with the dream of becoming an actor. It was a dream against all odds, but while working as a grocery clerk he found luck here and there, as well as romance in the form of Carmen (a terrific Teresa Ruiz), a no-frills Catholic teacher. who ignored his bold advances even as he refused to take no for an answer. Finally, the lifelong agnostic convinces her that he’s a church regular when he shows up at her parish, even spending time in prime scenes in the confessional and with the younger students in her class. The guy has undeniable charm and sass, to say the least, as well as a strong belief that there are no limits when it comes to him.
‘Father Stu’ Trailer and Preview Photos
His carefree existence is shattered by a devastating motorcycle accident that leaves him on death’s doorstep. He survives and because of this has had visions of a new life, one where out of the blue he believes his calling is to become a priest. Once again, he climbs because no one around him, including his astonished mother (Jacki Weaver) or his estranged, alcoholic father Bill (Mel Gibson), can believe in this life turnaround for Stu.
But as with everything, he manages to find a way into it, even though church officials and the cardinal (Malcolm McDowell) try to discourage this like someone who just leans into windmills. . His carefree attitude (pardon the pun) carries him far into the seminary he manages to get into, until another of life’s blows hits him hard when he is diagnosed with a devastating muscle disease, similar to ALS, in which he will gradually lose most of his motor skills and his ability to get around on his own. This does not even stop his determination to become a priest.
Rosalind Ross makes an impressive screenwriting and directing debut here, helped all the more by her exceptional cast starting with Wahlberg, who knows how to recognize a good role when he sees one. Gibson is excellent in one of his best roles in years, as is Ruiz and the ever-reliable Weaver. Great support also comes from veteran McDowell, Aaron Moten and Cody Fern.
The producers are Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Jordan Foss. Colleen Camp, Mikey Lee, Patrick Peach and Tony Grazia are EPs with Ross. Sony Pictures is releasing the Columbia Pictures presentation on Wednesday, just in time for Easter. Check out my video review with scenes from the movie at the link above.
Do you plan to see Father Stu? let us know what you think.