Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
At the Vatican, following the demise of the Pope, the conclave to elect his successor settles on Cardinal Melville. But the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square wait in vain for the new Pope to step out on the balcony. What is going on? Behind the thick walls of the Vatican panic has set in. After uttering a terrible howl of fear, the Cardinal refuses the office. The officials do everything to try to reason with Melville, including a psychoanalyst, appointed by the Vatican... Do we really have a Pope? Written by
The College of Cardinals as a team of Peter Pans devoted to their leader
This particular movie is based on a very original idea. It has scenes that depict with vividness the process of Papal succession. It portrays the ambivalence and doubts of a man and a collective entity when faced with a weight of responsibility which is much greater than that expected to be shouldered by an average human being. It very well conveys the atmosphere in St Peter's Square among the multinational crowd of the faithful as they wait for the election of their new spiritual Father. But it has a flaw.
It promotes the idea that the collective entity known as the College of Cardinals, a team which along with the Pope rules the Roman Catholic Church, is a group of grown-up boys, simple and faithful, humbly devoted to the Pope. It is strange that an institution that numbered among its former Heads people such as the Borgias and the Medici, which has been responsible for such events such as the Crusades and has invented and controlled the Inquisition could be nowadays governed by a group of naive simpletons. Of course the Roman Catholic Church has promoted art and learning and has played a great role in the history of Europe and the World.
Still, an institution from which so much evil as well as so much good has sprung, does not in any sense done justice when its hierarchy is portrayed in such a manner. In that point I disagree with the reviewer that considers that the movie has a sympathetic portrayal of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. I think the portrayal of the hierarchy is far too simplistic and naive and gives the impression that even the professors of Hogwards in Harry Potter are a group of people that collectively possess more gravitas and serious purpose than the College of Cardinals. Neither the faithful nor the opponents of the Roman Catholic Church would find in this group either role models or worthy adversaries.
Excluding that flaw, which incapacitates the movie from been taken seriously as a depiction of the workings of the higher echelons of the Church bureaucracy, one can commend the views of the Vatican and of Rome it offers as well as the performance of the lead actors in the roles of the Supreme Pontiff and the Professor of Psychology.
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