The most ritualistic and secretive religion causes a great scandal amongst their followers when Pope Benedict XVI resigns his papacy due to personal problems. This was an unprecedented problem that made most people skeptical about the true nature of the pope and its papacy. A really conflictive story following a controversial character that left its mark this last decade as the pope who resigned. This is the plot of the movie The Two Popes. The story of how it came to be that Benedict XVI decided to leave his papacy behind and how he got to know the very engaging and controversial future Pope, Francis the 1st.
Let me start with one detail that always makes my movie enjoyment better, this is when characters speak the language they are from, even if they are in a foreign country, they seem to speak English with a foreign accent. This is the case of the Two Popes, they both come from different countries and speak different languages, but end up settling for English since they don’t speak the other languages, they both speak as good as English. I enjoyed how at first when Pope Francis, or Mario Bergoglio, meats Pope Benedict XVI they begin with Latin and Francis tells him that he would much rather speak in another language since his Latin is not as good. But the fact that they learned how to say those lines with an acceptable Latin accent made me appreciate this scene more than I would have if it would have happened otherwise. Also, you can tell that English is not Mario’s first language, since he always answers with a “Si” instead of “Yes”. This might have been intentional but it gives the character more credibility as to where he comes from, which is obviously Argentina.
The dialogs that we see throughout the movie are very memorable, they are what make this movie good, you could just listen to the movie, without watching and you would completely understand what is happening. I recommend you to watch it non the less, the colors and the actions from both popes are priceless, specially towards the second half of the movie, once Pope Benedict begins to like Mario. I need to say that Mario’s character is just hilarious in many ways, he seems like a lovely character that you could have fun with, it expresses most of what the Latin American culture is like, engaging, familiar, loving, warm. Pope Francis is all of them.
Now to the actors. Anthony Hopkins, you are and forever will be one of the best actors that has lived. You can interpret the biggest psychopath, the friendliest father, the most mysterious character and the driest Pope. If this is not great acting skills, I don’t know what is. You want more? Who else keeps on making jaw dropping performances at the age of 82? Very few and yet, we have Hopkins giving us more than what we deserve. Now, I also want to thank Jonathan Pryce for his performance, he almost fooled me to think that he was Argentinian, I also loved his performance and how he seemed so carrying and loving to everyone. They made one heck of a duo for this movie and I loved seeing them together.
The story is simple but, in the simplicity, we get some very important details. I loved how they didn’t use this movie as straight up Catholic propaganda, although they still used it as propaganda, lets be honest. They did mention the things that the catholic church is doing wrong and I fully appreciate them mentioning it. I honestly did not expect them to mention the controversies we’ve been seeing, child molesting, racial hate, fraud and so on. It was necessary to mention these things since the church already has lost all signs of respect and this is a way of telling everyone that they know how things are in their church and they do want to change them. (Like I said, it still is propaganda) They don’t justify the things that have happened, actually they condemn them and mention how they would change them.
Let’s talk about the directing in this movie. I found some moments that were brilliant, the bright colors they use in the gardens and the inside rooms, the color transition from the story Mario is telling from his past, that was neat. I liked to see some distinctions from most movies, some new approaches and, well this is what I think, using black and white for scenes that represent the past have become more and more popular, I like them, but I hope they don’t become overused to soon. But not everything was good and I can see why it didn’t get nominated for best film or best director. It had its flaws, not necessarily cinema sins, but there was one scene in specific that I found difficult to watch, when Mario is telling his story, when he was younger and Argentina was facing big difficulties, there is one part where Mario goes to his friends house and starts to gather some books that he doesn’t want the soldiers to find, the camera is moved in such fast and unnecessary ways that it made me lose interest in the scene, I thought that would be the worst but not much later we see Mario with other two Jesuit Priests talking and telling them that they have to be careful, here again we see some drastic intense moves that make the camera go out of focus and back to focused and back to not focused. I wasn’t a fan of that, I thought they were trying to hard to make you feel the intensity of the situation when in reality we know that you don’t need to move the camera to cause anxiety or make you feel engaged in a dramatic situation. We’ve seen David Fincher take some of the most majestic anxious scenes in cinema history with his movie Zodiac and he didn’t make any drastic moves, they were smooth and slow but truly uncomfortable. They don’t need to copy him, but there were so many different ways how they could have done it better. My opinion though, make sure to let me know what you thought.
This movie was very enjoyable, with its dramatic moments to the funny moments (Pope Francis making Pope Benedict dance with him), we get some mesmerizing acting skills from to veterans of cinema and we also get really emotional moments through flashbacks. I consider this movie to be highly enjoyable, maybe not Oscar worthy but very important nonetheless. I could watch it again and I might even enjoy it even more.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this review. Tell me what you think about this movie? Keep in mind that this was my opinion, so feel free to let me know what your opinion is.
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