Father Stu (2022)

Father Stu is 2022 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. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, who also serves as a producer of the film. Colleen Camp serves as one of the executive producers of the film.

Father Stu is scheduled to be released in the United States on April 13, 2022.


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Movie info

After surviving a motorcycle accident, a former boxer and longtime agnostic starts to wonder if he can use his second chance to help others, leading to the surprising realization that he’s meant to be a Catholic priest.

  • Rating: R (Language Throughout)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Rosalind Ross
  • Producer: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Jordon Foss
  • Writer: Rosalind Ross
  • Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, Jacki Weaver, Teresa Ruiz, Annet Mahendru, Winter Ave Zoli, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Alain Uy, Ned Bellamy, Niko Nicotera, Carlos Leal, Mathew Trent Hunnicutt, Skip Howland, Chiquita Fuller, Annie Lee, Molly Baker, Tenz McCall, Faith Jefferies, Jose J Santana, Betsy Moore, Orion McCabe, Pablo Ramos, Bo Cleary, Mark Casimir Dyniewicz, Cody Fern, Larry Bagby, Michael Fairman, Danielle K. Golden
  • Release Date (Theaters): Apr 13, 2022  Wide
  • Runtime: 2h 4m
  • Distributor: Sony Pictures

Critic reviews for Father Stu

Playing out to the histrionic squalling of a country-infused score, this is film-making that aims to smite its audience into submission. Full Review | Original Score: 2/5

Wendy Ide – Observer (UK)

The strength of Father Stu is that Stu himself is fully imagined. Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5

Jake Wilson – The Age (Australia)

Mark Wahlberg is convincing and committed as a foul-mouthed Father, but this is ultimately just religious propaganda — preaching exclusively to the converted. Full Review | Original Score: 2/5

John Nugent – Empire Magazine

The movie isn’t awful, just sapping and strained. Full Review | Original Score: 2/5

Tim Robey – Daily Telegraph (UK)

If Gibson weren’t part of the package it might be possible to like it more. Full Review | Original Score: 2/5

Leslie Felperin – Guardian

Not so much a movie as a test case for the professional rehabilitation of Mel Gibson, this is a film that asks us to separate the dancer from the dance. Full Review | Original Score: 2/5

Kevin Maher – Times (UK)

Holy hokum. Full Review | Original Score: 1/5

Charles Bramesco – Little White Lies

“Father Stu” fails to make Long’s saga resonate, capturing the remarkable elements of his life without locating the transcendence within the biographical details. Full Review

Tim Grierson – Screen International

Father Stu’s marketing materials make it seem like a faux movie, a parody. But after being invited to a press screening the other week, I can confirm that Father Stu is indeed a real-deal film – although it probably shouldn’t be. Full Review

Sarah Hagi – Globe and Mail

Father Stu is competently made and Wahlberg puts in another turn as an entertaining loser with a heart of gold. Narratively though, the inspirational story loses inspiration as the film suffers from front-loading… Full Review

Adam Mullins-Khatib – Chicago Reader

Father Stu is intended to be inspirational, but viewers may find any sense of elevation elusive. Full Review

John Anderson – America Magazine

Told with sensitivity, earnestness and no small amount of sly, rascally charm, it is first and foremost a sure-handed match of material and a movie star’s strengths. Full Review | Original Score: B-

Brent Simon – AV Club

Its clumsy, inert storytelling seems less interested in converting nonbelievers than in convincing us of Wahlberg’s piety. Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4

Michael O’Sullivan – Washington Post

Ross’ script is never able to pull this out of the depths of trite banality, every line and emotional beat clocked from a mile away and cribbed from every other faith-based drama you’ve ever seen. Full Review

Trace Sauveur – Austin Chronicle

Wahlberg compellingly inhabits his character’s struggles, and the screenplay is decently structured even when it sometimes lacks persuasive depth or context. Full Review

Steven D. Greydanus – Catholic World Report

It can be entertaining but its rarely truly engaging, and the tell-not-show approach to the screenwriting renders the characters two-dimensional and hollow. Full Review | Original Score: 2/4

Katie Walsh – Tribune News Service

Instead of reaching a broader audience, Wahlberg and Gibson preach to the choir. Full Review | Original Score: 2/4

Nell Minow – RogerEbert.com

Rosalind Ross, a writer directing her debut feature, and Wahlberg buck the expectations of the religious-salvation story by mostly keeping it light and barely taking a breath, with an extra nudge from a country-heavy soundtrack. Full Review

Nicolas Rapold – New York Times

The film is a Hollywood-approved show of Old Testament judgment that sees all people as sinners and thus deserving of all the punishment they receive. Full Review | Original Score: 1/4

Derek Smith – Slant Magazine

“Father Stu” has an R-rated edge that separates it from the majority of faith-based offerings, but it still has a hard time reaching past the first few pews. Full Review | Original Score: C

Adam Graham – Detroit News