The Two Popes

The Two Popes

Fernando Meirelles (2019)

125min
12A Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Here's a mouthwatering prospect: two veteran British thesps in a barnstorming, virtual two-hander based on a play by screenwriter Anthony McCarten (shaper of factual dramas The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour and Bohemian Rhapsody). Anthony Hopkins plays doubt-ridden, prickly, conservative Pope Benedict XVI as a wounded bear during his meeting with his reluctant, less flappable and progressive successor Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) - later Pope Francis - at the former's Italian retreat in 2013. Both actors, multilingual throughout, have tactical conversations during which liberties have been taken in order to tickle the funny bone - such as Bergoglio's penchant for Abba and Benedict's for takeaway pizza. More searching theological analysis plays out against flashbacks to the first Latin American Pope's ethically compromised stance in military-run Buenos Aires in the 1970s. Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (City of God) makes full use of remarkable sets, including a replica Sistine Chapel, and knows precisely when to stay put and when to roam around Rome. A Catholic upbringing is not required to appreciate this two-hour joust, and the only real downside is that we know the ending.

Cast & Crew

Pope Benedict XVI Anthony Hopkins
Cardinal Bergoglio / Pope Francis Jonathan Pryce
Pope Francis as a young man Juan Minujín
Director Fernando Meirelles

Other Information

Language: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, German, Latin +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: NetflixGuidance: Some violenceReleased on: 29 Nov 2019