The Two Popes (2019)
If you think that feuding politicians dislike each other, throw religion into the mix and it’s a whole other ballgame in Netflix’s biographical drama movie The Two Popes.
There are two men to focus on: Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) and Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins). Their back-and-forth war in the Vatican shows how difficult it is to be the leader of the Catholic faith – as well as to be the person going against him. It’s not something the Vatican speaks about but where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Inserts of real-life archive footage adds to the authenticity of the film. There’s a lot you need to know about the Catholic religion and a lot you don’t. But this is more than just a story about a feud between powerful men: it’s about humans, how we live and the religions we choose to follow and what we believe in.
Having two heavyweights leading the story makes The Two Popes. Any other actors would simply have fallen short. The only difficult aspect is the subtitles – you need to look away from the action to read what’s going on because there is a lot of Spanish, Italian and even Latin being used as the story unfolds. If you’re into religion, conspiracy and biographical drama, this is one for you.
If you’re hoping for secrets to be revealed, think again, reviews Pat Brown from Slantmagazine.com: “What seemed, in the early aughts, fresh and well-suited to gangster movies and spy thrillers, feels dated and out of place in a film that amounts to two powerful octogenarians having a series of conversations.”
Other critics praised The Two Popes for its performances and its screenplay. Newsday says, “The Two Popes tells the story of one of the most consequential moments in the history of the Catholic Church with subtlety and grace, including two of the finest performances of the year.”
And the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences agrees, having awarded 2020 Oscar nominations to both Hopkins and Pryce, as well as a nomination for the screenplay.
IMDB rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 89%