The true story of the transition of power in the Catholic Church between
the conservative Pope Benedict XVI and the liberal Pope Francis.
The Two Popes (2019)
Directed by Fernando Meirelles
Written by Anthony McCarten
Starring Jonathan Pryce, Anthony Hopkins, Juan Minujín,
María Ucedo, Lisandro Fiks
Based on the stage play The Pope by Andrew McCarten
Oscar Nominations - Best Actor (Jonathan Pryce), Best Supporting Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Adapted Screenplay
I am not a religious man, but I find stories about religion fascinating, especially when they're true. The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 was unexpected to say the least. The pope is expected to serve for life, and Benedict's resignation threatened to shake the church to its core. But his successor, the liberal, moderate Pope Francis, promised to bring the church out of the dark ages and into the modern light. The story of how these two men forged the future of the Catholic Church is absolutely mesmerizing, thanks to the flawless performances of Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce.
It's no secret that the Vatican isn't exactly liberal on many issues. The election of conservative Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Hopkins) to pope showed that they weren't considering any kind of change. But somewhere along the line, Pope Benedict realized the problem in the church was its inability to commit to real change for the good, and he left to ensure that his successor would be someone who the church needed, and that was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Pryce), his rival turned friend. The heart of the movie is the chemistry between Hopkins and Pryce. The humanization of these two enormous cultural figures helps keep The Two Popes from becoming Christian propaganda or a movie that's wholly about religion. At its core, The Two Popes is a movie about forgiveness, and more importantly, self-forgiveness.
I enjoyed every second of this oddly reflective biopic of two men on vastly opposite sides of the church who found common ground that they used to ensure the church wouldn't suffer their sins. It's inspiring, especially learning Pope Francis's journey from flawed priest to inspirational pontiff. One of the film's quotes is something along the lines of "the best person to be a leader is one who doesn't want to be a leader." I've always believed that, and even if I'm not Catholic, it's nice to know that there's a good man sitting on the throne of Saint Peter.