Fit ‘The Two Popes’ Into Your Weekend Viewing Plans
‘The Two Popes’ is probably not a movie you would jump to watch. Between ‘Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker’ and ‘The Witcher’ coming out this weekend, you wouldn’t put watching a movie about two real-life popes at the top of your list. Please, though; watch this film immediately. ‘The Two Popes’ was directed by Fernando Meirelles and written by Anthony McCarten. This biographical drama stars Sir Anthony Hopkins as former Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis. ‘The Two Popes’ has been nominated for Golden Globes Awards in the Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor categories. Let me say, the movie deserves every award.
Pope Benedict XVI was made the pope in 2005, following the death of Pope John Paul II. Benedict was known for his conservative views. While he won the majority vote, Francis (known as Jorge Bergoglio before he was made Pope), was also a popular contender. Even though the pope election is much more civil than our political elections, there are still those deemed more conservative and others considered more progressive. While Bergoglio sees Benedict’s indoctrination as staying stagnant [when the Church needs to move forward], he still respects Benedict’s new position. Bergoglio goes back to his home country Argentina and helps feed the poor in his community after the election.
Benedict and Bergoglio are two different people. They come from two different countries, have different views, and different ways of interpreting their faith. They disagree on homosexuality, abortion, divorce, and many other things. Despite this, the two come together to initially discuss Bergoglio’s resignation request. Their differences are even more on display. Benedict enjoys eating alone and all around, doesn’t seem like a whole lot of fun. Bergoglio, instead; is personable. He enjoys dining with others, watching football (soccer), and gets along with everyone. As a Cardinal, he could live a much more luxurious life than he does. Instead, he chooses to live simply.
The Start of a Beautiful Friendship
There are marvelous moments in the movie where real respect and admiration for the other breakthrough their differences. Bergoglio does not agree with Benedict’s conservative views. Nor his lax approach towards priests who have been accused of molesting young boys. Despite having great respect for his pope, Bergoglio does not shy away from expressing disapproval of some of Benedict’s actions. Regardless, there is a wonderful scene where it could be said that music started bridging the gap between them. This was always the argument between them – Benedict wanted to build walls, Bergoglio wanted to build bridges.
While at the Vatican, Benedict expresses his decision that he’s made – he will step down from being the pope. This is the first time a pope has done so in 700 years. Bergoglio attempts to plea with Benedict, but the pope expresses that for a long while, he has not heard God. That was, until Bergoglio came to visit him. Bergoglio confesses, though; that he is regretful of his actions in the past, particularly during a very tumultuous time in Argentina. Benedict confesses to Bergoglio of knowingly placing priests in one parish after another, despite knowing that they had molested little boys.
The Story Can Take a Serious Turn
I did not expect the film to be as serious as it was at times. Initially, the movie seems like a light-hearted, almost quirky film. Bergoglio could certainly seem quirky, especially compared to the stoic and unpersonable Benedict. There are scenes, though; of real-life criticisms of Pope Benedict, as well as a very tragic backstory for Bergoglio. The movie was lighthearted when it needed to be, but could bring a tear to your eye in certain moments. At the same time, there were endearing scenes, where you could see a breakthrough between the ‘two popes’. Pryce and Hopkins worked beautifully opposite each other.
Pope Benedict XVI Was the First Pope to Resign in 700 Years
Pope Benedict XVI resigned in 2013. Cardinal Bergoglio was voted in and took the name of Pope Francis. There’s a nice scene where St. Francis is mentioned, so you, as the viewer; could use it as a touchstone looking back. Francis is introduced to the people, wearing simple garments; and calls for unity. We see real-life footage of Pope Francis visiting countries around the world, as well as real-life footage of Francis and Benedict reuniting. The end credits roll and Pryce’s Francis and Hopkins’ Benedict watch the 2014 World Cup. As someone who initially seemed to disapprove of the sport, Benedict happily enjoys the game. Which, is between his home country of Germany and Francis’ home country of Argentina.
Germany won the 2014 World Cup.
Pryce is absolutely delightful in his role as Pope Francis. From the beginning, he is able to add a musical and whimsical touch to his character. He is a man of the people and while he seems to add joy wherever he goes, he is able to really execute the harder scenes – where he recalls a difficult time in Argentinian history. Hopkins is able to master a true transformation of Benedict throughout the film. Originally unapproachable and at times, unlikeable; he opens up as the film progresses. The film is special because Pryce and Hopkins have such great chemistry with each other.
It’s easy not to give ‘The Two Popes’ much thought when you are passing it by on Netflix, but I ask you not to skip over it. It’s a wonderful film, with a beautiful storyline, and two incredibly talented actors. I don’t think I have given any film in 2019 a 5 out of 5, but I think ‘The Two Popes’ is certainly deserving.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5OhkFY1PQE” align=”center” css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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