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Following the premature death of his mother, Karol Wojtyla is brought up by his father in the Polish city of Krakow during the first half of the 20th century. An outstanding student with a magnetic personality, he dreams of becoming an actor. When his homeland is invaded by the Nazis in 1939, he and his friends secretly oppose the systematic persecution of their Polish culture. But, with the death of his father and the lacerating solitude which accompanies this loss, Karol's personal "resistance" takes on a new form and he decides to follow a priestly vocation. At the end of the war, Poland falls into the grip of Soviet totalitarianism. The newly ordained Karol is constantly surrounded by young people whom he teaches to safeguard and defend human dignity. He could be considered a serious threat to the regime, but the Communist authorities merely see him as an innocuous intellectual and even encourage his nomination for the position of bishop. Karol Wojtila is the youngest bishop in ... Written by
When John Paul gives the Urbi et Orbi blessing after he is elected, there are 16 people standing on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. But in the following wide shot from St. Peter's Square, only two people can be seen on the balcony. See more »
Wonderful TV movie of the formation and life of John Paul II.
The first half of this TV movie, "Pope John Paul II", was shown on Sunday last. The second part was shown tonight. Certainly Roman Catholics everywhere were interested, but also anyone of any Faith, and even many who don't profess a Faith, I hope found this story fascination. The story of a simple man who found love in his heart and lived a life to help spread that love among all.
Cary Elwes is very believable as the young adult Karol Wojtyla growing up in Poland during the advances of Nazi Germany. He was strongly influenced by his father and the priests and bishops he came in contact with. He was interested in drama, in education, in sports, and had many friends. We see a glimpse of his girlfriend who challenged him to tell her what he wanted out of life, hoping that he would want to become her husband, and father of their children. But the challenges of the times forbid his going in that direction, and later as history has witnessed, he became a priest, studying in secret, in defiance of the German regulations, to fulfill his calling.
The first half ends in the midst of the Conclave of Cardinals to elect a new pope, and young Cardinal Karol is being considered, much to his surprise.
The second half opened where the first left off, and as we know Karol Wojtyla indeed became the new Pope, John Paul II. Cinematically the transition from Elwes to Voight was also a good one. As good as Elwes was as the young adult Wojtyla, Voight was even better, as we would expect from such a seasoned actor. (It may have helped that, as a young man, Voight was educated at Catholic University.)
The whole movie is extremely well done, and shows what a great man and a great spiritual leader Karol Wojtyla became. And, even though we knew they were actors in this movie, the final hours of John Paul II were very touching.
I definitely plan to buy this one once the DVD is out.
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