Released 13th May 2022
This week, I went to the press preview of the real life story of Father Stuart Long. It reminds me of the 70’s movie ‘Cross & the Switchblade” where David Wilkinson’s story from gangster to Christ. Father Stu is a simular story ‘from gangster to Priest’
Brilliant film! One of the best presentations of the Gospel, holding back no punches, excuse the pun, that I’ve seen in a mainstream movie for years!
It’s a story from Stuart Long’s heartfelt journey (played by Mark Wahlberg) from his upbringing in a dysfunctional aithiest family, bestranged father (played by Mel Gibson) who have no regard for God. Stuart’s ambitions of wanting to be a boxer & then an actor are short lived, he was a womeniser yet his life got turned around through pursuing a beautiful girl, Carmen (played by Teresa Ruiz) who took her faith in Christ, seriously and actively involved in her church parish, Stuart did all he can to try and woo her, even getting baptised in the church to win her! Yet it seems God had other ideas for his life, God took hold of Stuart’s rough and ready life to serve Him. Awakening his heart to live his life not in vain through seeing a vision during a terrible motorcycle accident where he had a vision of a young lady (he believed to be Mary) appeared to him and said ‘you will not die in vain’ and that ‘my son loves you’ talking about Jesus of course!
The movie portrays Stuart’s journey from a rough gangster, womanising life to a life of repentance, faith and overcoming sin to ultimately trust God’s plan for his life through serving as a Priest in the catholic church. And even that journey came with peril, he had to fight for what he believed God was calling him too because the church at first and even at his ordination did not want him because of an debilitating illness.
Suitability – there is some rough language expected in the reality of the life that is portrayed. The movie is good for an adult audience, and older teenagers.
Themes – Life is full of ups and downs and wherever we are on the journey of life God runs after us and can turn any life around! We see themes expressed from reconcilliation, I love how Stuart’s athiest Father is reconciled in the end. There is also much on repentance, even pennance (the work of God’s saving grace being worked out in walking out repentance), forgiveness, anger (towards God), overcoming temptation of sin.
Gospel Presentation – so clear and moving why Jesus came to change lives and drawer people back to the Father.
Missing from the movie – renewal of Holy Spirit to change a life, however it is implied in how Stuart Long’s life is completely changed around.
Favourite part of the movie for me was when he went into the prison with his i guess middle class priest, we see Father Stu speak directly into the lives of the inmates – powerful!
Watch to the end! Yes don’t get up and leave as soon as you see the credits roll! It is quite an emotional movie at the end and you will need a box of tissues to hand. To ease the tension during the credit roll you will see a surprise clip that didn’t make the film (definitely eases the emotional load) followed by some clips from the real Father Stuart Long, who passed away from a rare autoimmune disease in 2014 yet continued ministering to his flock in the Big Sky Care Centre where he lived.
Study guide available – international website fatherstumovie.com and there is a faith guide available for Ireland you can download here: