Based on a true story, Father Stu is an unflinchingly honest drama about a lost soul who finds his purpose in service to other. From a dysfunctional family life, a misspent youth, an injury ending his amateur boxing career, and a rash of poor choices, this movie is a story of redemptive suffering.
Stuart Long (Mark Wahlberg) moves to L.A. dreaming of stardom. While scraping by as a supermarket clerk, he meets Carmen (Teresa Ruiz), a Catholic Sunday school teacher who seems immune to his bad-boy charm. Determined to win her over, the longtime agnostic starts going to church to impress her. But surviving a terrible motorcycle accident leaves him wondering if he can use his second chance to help others find their way, leading to the surprising realization that he is meant to be a Catholic priest. Despite a devastating health crisis and the skepticism of Church officials, Stu pursues his vocation with courage and compassion, inspiring not only those closest to him but countless others along the way.
The movie was released Wednesday of Holy Week. The initial reviews by critics are harsh, so it will be interesting to see what the people, especially the faithful think of the movie. Note: the movie is not a family movie. It has an R-rating because of language and difficult family scenes.
Is it a movie to see? Bishop Barron does not share the view of the professional movie critics. In reading the critic reviews and then listening to the interview with Bishop Barron (and another with Fr. Mike Schmitz) there is clearly a different optic in use.