The religious Mark Wahlberg biopic climbing the Netflix charts
(Credit: Netflix)

Film News

The religious Mark Wahlberg biopic climbing the Netflix charts

The popular court of opinion may still be divided on Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson, but their movies regularly shoot up to the top of streaming charts. This week, a religious biopic starring the duo has climbed up four pitstops on Netflix’s top ten films chart in the UK.

In addition to the UK, Father Stu has made its ascent up the Netflix charts in five other countries, including France, Ireland, and Spain. And this is its second consecutive week on the top ten chart in the UK.

In the grand tapestry of biopics, where some shimmer with Oscar-bait grandeur and performances and others barely flicker like a cheap candle in a drafty room, there lies Father Stu somewhere towards the right. Starring Wahlberg as Stuart Long, a boxer-turned-Catholic priest, this biographical drama doesn’t quite soar to the heights of cinematic glory but manages to carve its niche, albeit a modest one.

Directed and written by Rosalind Ross in her directorial debut, Father Stu tells the tale of Long, portrayed by Wahlberg, a man whose journey from a foul-mouthed amateur boxer to a Catholic priest is as improbable as it is inspiring. Set against the backdrop of Southern California, the film unfolds with all the predictability of a Sunday sermon, yet it’s peppered with enough sincerity to keep you engaged.

Wahlberg’s portrayal of Stu is earnest, if not entirely groundbreaking, as he navigates through the highs and lows of a life touched by both divine intervention and human frailty. His co-stars, including Jacki Weaver, Mel Gibson, and Teresa Ruiz, embody characters who orbit around Stu’s tumultuous trajectory.

Father Stu is brushed with the same strokes of familiarity as any of your favourite run-of-the-mill biopic. From brushes with the law to battles with debilitating illness, Stu’s journey is far from polished, yet it’s imbued with a sense of resilience that’s hard to ignore. While his portrayal of Stu earned Mark Wahlberg plenty of praise, the screenplay and film itself left critics underwhelmed at best.

Despite its sincere intentions, Father Stu doesn’t quite pack the emotional punch one might expect from a biopic. Instead, it tiptoes along a well-worn path, but there’s something oddly comforting about it. 

If you are in the mood to switch away from flashy blockbusters and high-concept dramas, you can watch Father Stu on Netflix, but first, catch the trailer here: