Title – The Two Popes (2019)
Director – Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener)
Cast – Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, Juan Minujín
Plot – In a dark time for the Catholic Church, current head of the church Pope Benedict (Hopkins) and Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Pryce) find themselves spending time together as they discuss life and faith and become good friends in the process.
“When no one is to blame, everyone is to blame”
Review by Eddie on 21/01/2020
If it were only for the chance to watch industry veterans Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce share the screen together in a talk-heavy outing, allowing the two masters time to showcase their immense skills once more, The Two Popes would be worth your time. As an added bonus however, Fernando Meirelles Netflix backed film is a joy to watch in so many other ways, as it’s inspired by fact but fictionalised account of the friendship between Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio takes us on a lovely two hour journey.
As is the case with movie magic, we aren’t going into territory here that delves into the real life atrocities that Ratzinger was a part of, even if Meirelles doesn’t shy away from the fact Two Popes is set in a dark time for a shady and nefarious organisation but his more interested in exploring discussions around faith and one’s beliefs as Ratzinger and Bergoglio’s budding friendship takes shape over the course of a few days.
There’s a stunning air of magic and enthusiasm present throughout the entirety of the film as Meirelles and his production team bring to life a series of visually stunning locations (highlights include a faithfully recreated version of the Sistine Chapel) that provide wonderful backdrops for Hopkins and Pryce to act around.
Both performers deliver some of their best work in years, with Hopkins as good as his been in the last decade and Pryce stealing the spotlight as the instantly likeable Bergoglio, whose just as at home watching soccer and eating pizza as he is delivering a sermon or playing the Cardinal role. While it’s perhaps unlikely in such a loaded year that either performers will win Oscar’s, it doesn’t take away from the fact the industry veterans are both absolutely awards worthy.
Those worried or turned off by the fact Two Popes may sound like a two hour talk fest shouldn’t be deterred, as Meirelles explores via flashbacks important moments in Bergoglio’s life as a budding priest and instances that shaped his future and with actor Juan Minujín doing a great job as the younger version of our likeable main protagonist, it instills Two Popes with a grand vision that is more varied than one would first expect from the film.
It’s also important to note as a viewer, that no matter your personal feelings towards the Catholic Church, whether they be good or bad, Two Popes doesn’t pick sides in exploration of faith and friendship and transcends its groundings in this institution to create a movie bromance that is one of if not the best of the 2019 film slate.
Final Say –
Featuring two memorable lead performances from two of Hollywood’s great elder statesman, The Two Popes is a handsomely crafted dramedy that is yet another win for Netflix’s original film offerings.
4 bottles of Fanta out of 5