3/4

The Two Popes [2019] ★★★

It’s the news that rocked the world back in 2013: Pope Benedict stepped down as the head of the Catholic church, leaving millions in doubt, before his successor Pope Francis emerged as an unlikely savior. And the rest, as they, is history. But what exactly went on behind closed curtains? This is where “The Two Popes” comes in. With carefully crafted dialogue and impeccable acting, this film is a treat to watch from start to finish. Jonathan Pryce not only looks like Pope Francis, he also speaks and behaves like him. But before he became Pope, he was Cardinal Bergoglio, a humble man who visited Pope Benedict (wonderfully played by Anthony Hopkins) in 2012 to request his permission to retire. They are two very different men with completely different backgrounds, but their meeting will eventually bring them closer as they try to forge a future for the Catholic church. I know, I know, it sounds straight out of a history book. But get this: watching these two veteran actors in action is a uniquely rewarding experience. And, weirdly enough, the film is hilarious and touching at the same time. Pryce, who has never been better, delivers an emotionally courageous performance that uncovers Pope Francis’ secret past. And Hopkins is a knockout as a man in need of redemption. But mostly, you can credit director Fernando Meirelles, whose attention to detail made me forget that I was watching a movie and surrendered completely to his masterful direction. I could nitpick if I chose to, but I won’t, because I derived so much satisfaction from the experience of watching the “Two Popes”. Like its two brilliant actors, this movie is one of a kind.

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