Writer: Anthony McCarten (Screenplay)
Starring: Jonathan Pryce, Anthony Hopkins, Juan Minujin, Sidney Cole, Thomas D Williams, Federico Torre
Plot: Behind Vatican walls, the conservative Pope Benedict and the liberal future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.
Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: A Pryce & Hopkins Masterclass
Story: The Two Popes starts with the death of Pope John Paul II, the Vatican must elect a new Pope, bring the Cardinals from around the world together to go through the voting system, one the world is waiting to hear the news. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pryce) and Cardinal Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger (Hopkins) are the favourites to wise to the spot, with Ratzinger becoming Pope Benedict.
Jump forward to 2012, Pope Benedict is involved in a scandal, which sees Jorge return to Rome hoping to be granted his retirement. Pope Benedict refuses his request, as the two clash on their beliefs, with Jorge wanting to see the church move to the future, while Pope Benedict believes the church should never change.
Thoughts on The Two Popes
Characters – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is from Argentina, he has always bought the people together, he sees the church needing to not only let the future in, but embrace the changes they could never have considered because of their beliefs, he is one of the two challengers voted for to become the next Pope before stepping away from the votes. Years later, he wants to retire and isn’t getting answers, he confronts the pope, wanting to get answers, until he learns the true reason for their meeting. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was always meant to replace Pope John Paul II, he wins and becomes Pope Benedict. His reign will see him facing scandal before he decides to make a massive decision, one unheard of in the church. He has always believed in follow everything the church has before, which is why he gets challenged the most. We only meet a younger version of Jorge as we see his journey to rise to Cardinal in Argentina, while anybody else is usually just showing the two around.
Performances – Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins give two of the greatest performances of the year, the two legends of the industry shine carrying the film with their performances through the film.
Story – The story here follows the close election of a new Pope and how the Cardinal who stepped out of the race he never wanted to be in, is the one person that the new Pope can turn to in his time of need to save the church from a scandal which could destroy it. This is one of the most interesting and engrossing stories you will see, it shows a behind the curtain look at how the church operates, with minds that believe in a God, even if they do follow different beliefs with how they can connect to more people. We do get to learn how Jorge was given his chance in the first place, had experiences that Pope Benedict never went through to get to his position. The idea that this is a conversation between two religious men with differences, it shows how people can disagree without needing to turn into an ugly fight for no reason, they can respect their differences.
Biopic/Comedy – The biopic side of the film shows the private conversation between two religious figureheads that went through to make one of the biggest decisions in the church’s history, which is also done in a comedic way, where we get to see the two have a joke along the way.
Settings – The settings are beautiful from the country house to how the Vatican is recreated to make us believe we are right there with the Popes.
Scene of the Movie – The truth conversation.
Final Thoughts – This is an acting masterclass from two of the greatest actors Hollywood has seen, it highlights the big change the church would take and how to have a conversation where both sides disagree, but accept the difference of opinions.
Overall: Acting Masterclass.