Movie Review: The Two Popes

In my continuing quest to watch as many Oscars contenders as possible before the big night, Denisa and I checked out another one with multiple nominations. The Two Popes is streaming on Netflix, and it’s got nominations for Best Actor, Support Actor, and Adapted Screenplay. I think it’s a movie I probably would have skipped completely were it not for this goal, and I’m very glad I didn’t skip it, since I thought it was tremendous.

It’s a strange duck of a movie, though. The vast bulk of it consists of two people talking to each other, often in different languages. Anthony Hopkins plays Pope Benedict, and Jonathan Pryce plays the lead, Pope Francis. It follows the course of events that led to Benedict becoming pope and eventually stepping down as pope, replace by Pope Francis. With a description like that, you’d think it would be fairly dry.

It’s anything but.

Don’t get me wrong. This is definitely a “thinking person’s” movie. The closest film I can compare it to is My Dinner with Andre. The two men discuss many different very deep topics, and I loved how it analyzed faith and what it means to follow God. The writing is excellent throughout. It’s hard to make two people talking about abstract thought compelling, so it’s a testament to how good this movie is that I was so engrossed. (True, some of that might be because I’m very interested in the topic, but still.)

I would say this is a movie not to be missed, particularly if you’re interested in the current status of faith in the modern world, and what it means to make “the right decision.” The acting is great, but it’s the writing that really sparkled for me. I gave it a 10/10. It’s rated PG-13, but with the exception of a few violent scenes (shown as flashbacks in Pope Francis’s life), it’s about as tame a movie as you can find.

Definitely check it out.

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