Directed by Fernando Meirelles (“City of God,” “The Constant Gardener”) and written by Anthony McCarten (“Theory of Everything,” “Darkest Hour”). Anthony Hopkins plays Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), and Jonathan Pryce plays Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio). These two actors are just incredible together. It’s all about the acting here. Powerful, big-time acting to be precise. Cardinal Bergoglio writes to Pope Benedict requesting to be allowed to retire. Then he receives a letter summoning him to meet with Benedict in his summer residence at Castle Gandolfo. Here is where the creative license takes over, especially with the particulars on the topics being discussed by the Two Popes.
However, the dialogue between Benedict and Francis is exceptional; McCarten’s writing shines here. We get to see their two opposing viewpoints on life and theology. Their different approach to Catholic doctrine is very evident, nevertheless, they both seem to agree that the church must evolve in order to survive. But Benedict seems incapable of taking the next steps into reforming the church and addressing the issues that have plagued the Vatican for decades. The flashback scenes of young Bergoglio before he joined the priesthood are well executed and elegantly portrayed by Juan Minujin. Here is where the film turns its focus into Pope Francis and how his early years shaped him into the man of faith he eventually became. The controversial period of Bergoglio’s involvement during Argentina’s Dirty war is also presented to show a conflicted priest who will carry the burden of those years into his papacy. The Two Popes is one of the best movies I saw in 2019. Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce are formidable.
Four out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿
THE TWO POPES (2019, Streaming on Netflix)