Review: Father Stu

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4 out of 5 stars

By Taylor Brown, Correspondent

“Father Stu”, a film released over Easter weekend, follows the unconventional yet inspiring story of a troubled man finding religion. Based on a true story, Stuart Long (portrayed by Mark Wahlberg) undergoes tragedy and identity crisis, all while finding companionship and faith.

At the beginning of the film, Stuart is forced to end his amateur boxing career due to injury. This propels him into a directionless depression, barely making ends meet as a supermarket clerk.

He meets a Sunday school teacher whom he takes a great interest in. He ends up going to church in an attempt to impress her. The rest of the film depicts Stuart finding a true home in the church and wanting to use his time on Earth to help others.

Despite coming from a less than loving home and following an unstable life plan, Stuart was able to take the tragedies of his upbringing and use them as motivation. He found peace with his past and formed his future accordingly.

As someone who is not religious, I doubted whether or not I would connect with such a spiritual storyline. But after watching the movie, I found Stuart’s determination and character arc to be a parallel of the universal human condition. He makes mistakes but ultimately uses them as a means of finding his purpose.

This does not mean he was an overall loveable character. Stuart is deeply flawed, deeply hurt, and often lets these qualities influence his decision making. But it was his defects and imperfections that made him such an honest character, and his journey all the more incredible.

I found Stuart’s lack of self-assurance and direction a relatable experience, and it was incredible to watch him evolve into a person he was proud to be. His ability to completely redirect his life and his passion was encouraging, and worth the watch. Wahlberg was able to encapsulate all that Stuart Long went through in real life, fabricating a complex and ultimately beautiful character on screen.

The release of Father Stu was perfectly timed, aligning with the Easter holiday and catering to the religious demographic of the nation. If you’re in need of introspection and thought provoking character development, I recommend seeing “Father Stu”

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