Two older gentlemen meet in the sunny garden of a large Italian villa. In addition to their shared belief in God, they have little in common. One is a moderate progressive, the other a sworn conservative. One loves football, the other has never seen a game in his life. Your courtesy speech gradually turns into a heated argument that continues until the next day. Of course the first is called Bergoglio, the second Ratzinger. The year is 2012 and one of the most important moments in the history of the modern Catholic Church is coming.
Netflix ended this year’s film carriage ride just before Christmas with the “historical reconstruction” of Benedict XVI’s resignation. And the arrival of Pope Francis. The Golden Globe nomination in the Drama category shows that we have had an intense theological and moral debate, but not. As the name of the screenwriter suggests, we have a rather unconventional buddy film.
In recent years, Andrew McCarten has developed into an expert in organic bikes that reaches a wide audience and provides managers with a sufficiently broad field to play an important role. All that speaks is the fact that three actors have already received an Oscar for his characters – Redmayne for The Theory of Everything, Oldman for the darkest hour, and Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody. In addition, these films can be considered above average, with the Queen’s biography earning almost a billion.
This time McCarten decided to customize his own piece, and it’s obvious. Two actors, one exterior, an intimate interior, a more epic flashback, the highlight of the Sistine Chapel. Four acts, now two beautiful clocks. Done, curtain, end. All this under the absolutely confident direction of director Meirells. The way he builds our relationship with both characters is exemplary – at the first meeting, he observes everything from afar or even the “eye of God”, later talks to wine when the ice melts, chooses details.
Along with the dynamic cut and heretical music selection (ABBA!), It turned out that the director of the city of God was the best choice for McCarten’s decision since he considered the entire conflict of the Pope and then Cardinal as a somewhat more moderate work by Giving it a friend looked. In it, two senior citizens do not chat about a woman like two roosters, but about the direction of the largest church in the world. The apparently controversial decision, especially when it comes to such an old institution, is the best solution to the Vatican’s ruined reputation.
Even though we cannot avoid more serious problems such as child sexual abuse, this is still an indication and is literally behind closed doors. McCarten is not afraid to open even more burning issues, after all, all flashbacks are devoted to the controversial relationship between Bergogliův and the Argentine fascist junta.
However, like McCarten’s earlier films, these dark places in history are not important, they just rub against them to create more monuments – Mercury, Churchill, Francis. Only Francis, because despite the name, the story of Benedict XVI, we don’t know anything exactly, because Hitler Youth, the Second World War or the euthanasia of his brother, the Nazis, would take this film somewhere else.
The previous Pope’s minimal background occasionally suggests a slight parody of the grumbling sage, but Anthony Hopkins is able to masterfully balance the old moods and the enormous burden that the Holy See imposes on itself. Even some overly happy moments, like watching Commissioner Rex or sitting over a pizza, are meant to help an inaccessible person like Benedict XVI. Humanize without taunting them. Jonathan Pryce as Bergoglio, a sympathetic man of the people, had a somewhat easier role, but does a very precise job and enjoys the interaction with his counterpart. If you want to continue, maybe a road movie about a journey through the Italian countryside.
Two Popes are a feel-good film from the old world, in which both noble characters are treated with preaching respect. However, there will never be an inexorable laudation, but rather the film that you will look for with something shiny and longing for something relaxing. If you look around the Vatican wilderness, you have to go to HBO’s neighbors, Sorrentino’s Young / New Pope.
And for no other reason, the two popes need to pay attention to the closing headlines, which are one of the nicest and funniest moments of the past decade.