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Father Stu review

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Father Stu


R.          124 min


This one is pretty much exactly how the blurbs describe it. A mediocre boxer with lots of other issues in his life decides to become a priest. That's the long and short of but there's a lot more to draw attention to this flick that have less to do with the true, I guess, story. You may want to heed my spoiler alert just because there are things that I didn't know to complicate the original premise. Your choice.

First thing that caught my attention was a snippet from an interview with Mark Wahlberg, who, by the way, is always better than I expect him to be, where he announced his plans to make this film because the story was so very important to him. This film, based on the real-life trials and tribulations of Father Stuart Long, truly is a labor of love.  Wahlberg heard the story of bravery at dedication verses almost insurmountable odds and it took it to heart. He took it upon himself to make sure that the story got heard, putting in the effort time and money to bring it to the screen. Just to show some of the dedication he actually gained something like 30 pounds to play this part as the character transformed from young boxer to near invalid.

Another selling point for me was the inclusion of the immensely talented Mel Gibson in a major motion picture. He plays the anti-social, alcoholic and unsupportive father.  Sure, the guy got drunk years ago and said some stupid things (there but for the grace of God... )  He has certainly apologized, yet the holier-than-thou members of the Hollywood Elite have made him a pariah. Glad to see the guy making a feature film comeback. (Next should be Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen. But I digress.)

Stu’s fascination with the Catholic Church begins, as many things begin, with the attraction to a young woman Carmen (Teresa Ruiz).  Abandoning his boxing career Stu moves to Hollywood hoping to catch a job in the movies. The closest he comes is working in the meat department of a grocery store where he is struck by the Thunderbolt becoming completely obsessed with Carmen. He pursues her winding up at a Catholic Church where she works. He becomes a volunteer there at first just to stay close. That's when his second, and even more irresistible, obsession kicks in and that is the decision to become a priest. I was impressed by the casting; they avoided the typical hot Hollywood Starlet opting rather for the slightly less glamorous Teresa Ruiz.

At this point the struggles and his wife are just beginning and to use a Biblical reference Stuart long seems to have the patience of Job as he battles obstacle after obstacle ultimately ending with a rare and debilitating disease.

You can't help but be touched by this story of persistence bravery and faith and I'm guessing neither could Wahlberg.




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