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The Two Popes Film Review

Updated on January 1, 2020
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I am a film enthusiast and enjoy reviewing films I have watched. I like all sorts of films but mainly black & white ones from the '50s/'60s.

Anthony Hopkins
Pope Benedict XVI
Jonathan Pryce
Cardinal Jorge Mario Borgoglio
Sidney Cole
Cardinal Peter Turkson

The Film

  • Released: 2019
  • Director: Fernano Meirelles
  • Producers: Dan Lin, Jonathan Eirich, Tracey Seaward
  • Running time: 2 hrs 5 mins
  • Genre: Drama, Comedy, Biography
  • Distributed by: Netflix

The Film

The Two Popes is a biographical film about Pope Benedict XVI and the subsequent, and current Pontiff, Pope Francis I. The film begins with Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis I), then then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, being summoned to the Vatican City. This is following the death of John Paul II. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was eventually elected Pope Benedict XVI, but Jorge was initially the front runner for this role.

Jorge wants to resign as Archbishop, but it seems his requests are being ignored, and his letters unanswered. But he is summoned to the summer house of Pope Benedict, where Jorge discusses the possibility of resignation. Pope Benedict is having none of it though, and tells him that it would seem there is a vote of no confidence in his leadership, that being of the Pope's role. Seven years into into Pope Benedict's role as Pope, the Catholic Church is hitting the headlines with scandals, thus leading to his resignation as the Pontiff.

Although these 2 men have disagreements, which we will see in the film, they are friends and share some common ground, like watching football together. The film covers the resignation of Pope Benedict and the now Pope Francis I taking over as Pontiff. During the film there is also snippets of 'real-life.' For instance, when Pope John Paul II passed away, you can see the news broadcasts from around the world broadcasting this news, and also when the election of the new Pontiff began.

My Thoughts

I personally really enjoyed watching this film. I think the interaction between the 2 actors worked really well. Considering throughout the majority of the film these are the only 2 actors in it, I think they did really well. They didn't always see eye to eye or agree on everything, but we also see how these 2 men struck up a bond and quite a close friendship. I also found moments that were heartwarming and touching to see. For instance, towards the end of the film, we see them dancing. Strange as it might seem, this was really nice to watch and made me smile.

With an estimated 1.2 billion Catholic followers around the globe, you can understand the importance of such a role in the Catholic Church. So when the news broke that Pope Benedict was to resign, it was a shock to the nation. This is usually a role that lasted until their death. So I found watching this film of the former and current Pope intriguing, yet refreshing and heart-warming. With regards to the current Pop Francis, we also get to see flashbacks throughout the film of his younger days and how he entered the Priesthood. You also get to see snippets of 'real life' news clips from around the globe. For instance, when Pope John died and also when they were electing the new Pope and also when Pope Francis took office. I think by including these news clips from around the world, you get a sense of how big this story was and how relevant it is to people globally. I also like the little touches that have been included in the film, like the pressing of the pens, the voting system and the black and white smoke omitting the chimney. All these little things added to add to the drama.

This is a delightful film. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found the relationship between the two Pontiffs strained at times, but ultimately, there is a special bond between them I think. It's humbling to watch. Even if you're not a religious person, I think you would enjoy this.

The Two Popes Official Trailer

© 2020 Louise Powles


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