The Two Popes

The Two Popes ★★★½

2019 Ranked

When I first heard about The Two Popes I actually got really excited about it. I don’t really know why, probably because those two central performances looked so engaging from the trailer. It also appeared to deal with power, especially religious power with a more human and humble guise. After watching the film, it does all these things and with great effect really. But I felt sort of short changed by where the movie decides to go.

Anthony Hopkins and Jonathon Pryce play Pope Benedict and Pope Francis respectively. The film explores their friendship, through their differences on all sorts of matters, society, religion and hobbies. When the film is doing this, it excels. It’s superb and I think a really engaging character study into both of these men. Men with an awful amount of power in the name of God. My issues arrived around the half way mark, where the film decides to start putting long flashback sequences in. If this was interwoven into the film more naturally from the start I probably wouldn’t have batted an eye. But the arrival of them feels clunky, a lot like the sequences actual content. This was the least interesting bit of the film for me and unfortunatley it takes up a whole lot of the last act.

I wanted to like it more, but the things I thought I would like, I love. It’s worth seeing for Hopkins and Pryce alone. I just wish there was a lot more of them.

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