This is a charming, engaging, surprisingly humorous look at the relationship between the two recent popes, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. At the heart of this picture is the performances of the heavyweights Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, both of whom portrayed each Pope beautifully. What made this film so good was its script. It allowed us to see a different side of these two men.
The film is a dramatic and visual feast, one that portrays its adversaries as passionate humans.
Wall Street Journal
If you’re going to make a movie about what’s holy, it had better be outstanding — and this drama rises to the occasion.
Common Sense Media
At the world’s oldest institutions, change is never something to be taken lightly. And nowhere is that more true than in the Roman Catholic Church, one of the oldest institutions in the world, where in recent decades the priestly leadership has faced a now-familiar debate: whether, in changing times, to adapt to new expectations or hold fast to the old ways.
That debate is at the centre of this new film from writer Anthony McCarten (Darkest Hour) and director Fernando Meirelles (City of God). Inspired by true events, the movie centres around Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the soon-to-be elected Pope Francis, and the ageing Pope Benedict XVI. Their ideological and temperamental differences, and the theological debates that spring from them, drive the movie’s action as the leaders spar over the future of 21st-century organised religion. And though much of the movie is fictional, those very real debates have consequences far beyond the cloistered enclave of the Vatican, with the Church’s determinations on issues like celibacy among priests and the role of women in the Church having ramifications for the lives of the world’s more than one billion Catholics.
The film uses a unique mix of different languages to tell the story. You actually learn a lot – me being non Catholic. The editing jumps around and that is a good thing. The same dialogue/scene from different angles will be cut together. And both leads did very well. It is such a different world those men live in.
USA 2019, 125 min, rated M (violence & content that may disturb)
Directed by Fernando Meirelles
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, Sidney Cole & Federico Torre