The Two Popes

Reform or tradition?


“The Two Popes” is an insightful biographical drama that follows the relationship between former Pope Benedict XVI (German) and the current Pope Francis (Argentinian) by interweaving a dynamic relationship, beautiful cinematography, and humor into one piece of work.

The film begins in the year 2005, as the Catholic Church faces an impasse between staying traditional or reforming as attendance of the faith declined. The major internal conflict takes place between former Pope Benedict XVI and the current Pope Francis.

Both held very distinct views on how the Catholic church should progress. Benedict favored traditionalism and the grandeur of the papal office, while Francis favored reform and the idea of following serving the marginalized as Jesus did. In April 2005, Benedict was officially elected into the papacy. However, the film continues to show the emerging support that Francis gained for years afterward.

The former Pope Benedict XIVI, would decide to resign due to the rise in sexual assault cases associated with the Catholic Church. The drama highlights Benedict’s support and optimism that the new papacy would fall in the hands of Francis, who he felt would certainly bring some much-needed reform to the church. Francis was declared the first Latin American Pope in 2013. Today Pope Francis is renowned for his public demonstration of denouncing the papal extravagance and his support for humanitarian problems around the world.

The work additionally explores the complicated background of Pope Francis, which covers a pivotal time in Argentinan history called the Dirty War (a dictatorship). At the time, Francis sided with the regime to avoid being killed as clergy who spoke against the government were targeted. Survivor’s remorse and regret are obviously shown in the performance of Jonathan Pryce’s Pope Francis.

“The Two Popes” is sure to pull at your heartstrings as it exposes the complex yet ordinary lives of the two popes. Francis, for example, finds interest in Argentinian ballroom dance, while Benedict finds solace in playing the piano. This component reveals the humanity of the popes as people, not just simple figureheads. It demonstrates the primary way that the two men start to make amends between their differences in ideology.

Admittedly, the most impressive aspect of the movies lies in the comedic dialogue. For such a serious topic that is presented to the audience, the humor shines through in a pleasant and surprising way. Stunning visuals of travel between countries and the Vatican are quite awe-striking are also of note.

It is no wonder the work has gained recognition from the Golden Globes, Oscars, and British Academy Film Awards. And I think it deserves your time too for all the stunning cinematography, dialogue, and drama it presents to viewers.



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