Father Stu review – histrionic boxer-turned-priest drama

In what is clearly a passion project for star and producer Mark Wahlberg, the redemptive arc of a self-destructive boxer turned Catholic priest gives plenty of opportunities for montages of shirtless brawling and, subsequently, a furrow-browed Wahlberg fiddling pensively with rosary beads. He plays Stuart Long, the real-life rough diamond who, after a near fatal accident, realised that he had been called into the service of the Lord.

Playing out to the histrionic squalling of a country-infused score, this is film-making that aims to smite its audience into submission. The always impressive Jacki Weaver, playing Stuart’s longsuffering mum, is rather underused; as his deadbeat dad, a grizzled Mel Gibson spits out sacrilege and spite.


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