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The Two Popes (2019)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 20 December 2019 (USA)
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2:09 | Trailer
Behind Vatican walls, the conservative Pope Benedict XVI and the liberal future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.

Director:

Fernando Meirelles
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Popularity
1,205 ( 130)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 50 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Hopkins ... Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict
Jonathan Pryce ... Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio / Pope Francis
Juan Minujín ... Younger Jorge Bergoglio
Luis Gnecco ... Cardinal Hummes
Cristina Banegas ... Lisabetta
María Ucedo María Ucedo ... Esther Ballestrino
Renato Scarpa ... Camerlengo
Sidney Cole ... Cardinal Turkson
Achille Brugnini Achille Brugnini ... Cardinal Martini
Federico Torre ... Protodeacon Estevez
Germán de Silva ... Father Yorio
Lisandro Fiks Lisandro Fiks ... Father Jalics
Libero De Rienzo ... Roberto
Willie Jonah Willie Jonah ... Cardinal Arinze
Sofia Cessak Sofia Cessak ... Amalia Damonte (as Sofia Mayra Cessak)
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Storyline

An intimate story of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years. Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world. Inspired by true events. Written by Netflix

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Inspired by true events.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic content and some disturbing violent images. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fernando Meirelles and Anthony Hopkins previously worked together on 360 (2011). See more »

Goofs

When Cardinal Bergoglio quotes the Bible to Pope Benedict he says it is from Isaiah 41 Chapter 10. It should be Chapter 41 Verse 10. See more »

Quotes

Pope Francis: Where was Christ in all this? Was he taking tea in the presidential palace? Or was he being tortured in prisons, with Yorio and Jalics?
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Crazy Credits

During the end credits, the title characters watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup final. See more »


Soundtracks

Zion Hört Die Wächter Singen, BWV 140
(uncredited)
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

 
Fantastic performances from two old acting pros.
26 January 2020 | by bob-the-movie-manSee all my reviews

Being inaugurated as a new pope in the last century must have been a source of enormous pride. But there must also have been a nagging thought... at some point you are going to be paraded, stiff as a board, around your work courtyard before being taken back inside to your place of work and buried there!

All that changed in 2013 when Pope Benedict XVI resigned, the first pope to voluntarily do so since Pope Celestine V in 1294. (Pope Gregory XII also resigned in 1415, but he was effectively forced to).

This movie tells the story of that curious situation, when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (played by Jonathan Pryce) ended up as Pope Francis while Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) was still alive. The official reason for the pope's resignation appears to have been his advanced age. But the film paints a rather different picture.

The movie starts back in 2005 as we enter the papal conclave. Benedict (Cardinal Ratzinger, as was) is the highly-political German cardinal who desperately wants the papacy; Bergoglio is the highly respected Argentinian cardinal who doesn't seek the office but might have it thrust upon him. (Clearly, when the white smoke clears, history has dictated the outcome).

But flash forward to 2013 and Bergoglio will get another bite of the cherry. Is he worthy of the role? Through flashbacks we return to Perón's unsettling rule over Argentina and the events that made the man.

The two stars are simply outstanding together, and it's no surprise at all that both have been nominated in the Oscar acting categories. They are almost joint leads. But - perhaps to give the film its best awards-season shot - Pryce is down for Best Actor and Hopkins is down for Best Supporting Actor.

Anthony Hopkins in particular for me shone with the brilliant quietness and subtle facial movements that are the mark of a truly confident actor. Less is more.

I was enjoying this movie enormously up until we flashed back to the Argentinian sub-plot. Set in the time of Perón's "Dirty War" when a huge number of people - estimates range from 9,000 to 30,000 - simply went "missing". There's nothing wrong with this sequence of the film. For example, a reunion of Bergoglio with a persecuted priest, Father Jalics (Lisandro Fiks) - is brilliantly and movingly done. It's just that for me it seemed so disjointed. It was jarring to switch from this Evita-era drama to the gentle drama of the papal plot.

If the movie had been 30 minutes shorter and focused on the mental struggles of Benedict I would have preferred it. Curiously - we don't really get to fully understand his divergence from the faith. Bergoglio gets no end of back-story. But Ratzinger's is probably just as interesting, but not explored.

This is still a really fine movie and will appeal to older folks who like a story rich with character acting and not heavy on the action or special effects. The director is Fernando Meirelles (who interestingly directed the Rio Olympics opening ceremony!) and it's written by Anthony McCarten, the man behind the screenplays for "The Theory of Everything", "Darkest Hour" and "Bohemian Rhapsody".

You may still be able to find this in selected cinemas (e.g. Curzon) but it is also streaming on Netflix, which is where I had to watch it.

(For the full graphical review, please check out One Mann's Movies on the web or Facebook. Thanks).


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Netflix

Country:

UK | Italy

Release Date:

20 December 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Two Popes See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$243,711
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Netflix See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color | Black and White (some scenes)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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