the two popes

★★★★★

DIRECTOR: Fernando Meirelles (city of god, the constant gardener)
STARRING: jonathan pryce, anthony hopkins, Juan Minujin, and Lisandro Fiks

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

Behind the Vatican walls, Pope Benedict and the future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.

When I heard that a film was being made based on conversations between Pope Benedict and Pope Francis I thought it'd be a talk fest that'd be slightly entertaining. I couldn't have been wrong. The Two Popes is a highly engaging, thought provoking exploration of humanity, religion, truth and hope.

 

Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict. Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world.

 

Anthony McCarten is an author of genius. The Oscar nominated screen writer has delivered us Darkest Hour, The Theory of Everything and Bohemian Rhapsody. All great films. No two ways about it. But this is his best yet as he manages to not only entertain but find truth and pose questions about humanity, religion and our future all at the same time.

 

Cardinal Bergoglio and Pope Benedict couldn't be more different. One liberal the other conservative, they battle to find common ground. But eventually they do and in a world where, especially online, we seek to 'destroy' those we disagree with this is both a poignant and necessary film. It also gives is a vision for how we should treat those we disagree with and offers us hope of what a world would be like where instead of building walls we build bridges.

 

The exploration of Cardinal Bergoglio (who goes onto become Pope Francis) and his past is intriguing as we discover his heartbreaking past and the burdens he bears. The Two Popes is a reminder of the fragility of the human spirit and the need for self forgiveness.

 

Anchoring this film is Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins. They are sublime and bring a warmth and humanity to two figures who may seem out of reach or otherworldly.

 

The Two Popes will entertain you, cause you to ask deep questions of yourself and your world and give you hope for the future of humanity.

★★★★★

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