THE TWO POPES
Led by astounding performances from Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, this witty two-hander dramatizes a 2012 meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the future Pope Francis.
A critical and audience favorite of this year’s fall festival circuit, The Two Popes captures a remarkably moving, surprisingly funny tête-à-tête between two of the 21st Century’s most famous spiritual leaders. Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten (Darkest Hour, PFF26) imagines a 2012 meeting between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and the future Pope Francis, then known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce). Several years into his papacy and facing a series of scandals and controversies, Benedict summons Bergoglio, the Argentine cleric who has been one of the Vatican’s most outspoken critics. Though ostensibly a response to Bergoglio’s stated desire to retire, Benedict has another reason for arranging the meeting. Benedict is considering submitting his own resignation—the first time in over six centuries that a pope has done so—and views Bergoglio as a worthy potential successor. While they share a faith, the men are personal and philosophical opposites, and much of the pleasure of The Two Popes derives from watching these two intellectual titans spar on matters both weighty and trivial. Though shaken by self-doubt, Benedict is a staunchly conservative defender of the church’s traditional ways, while the far more liberal Bergoglio argues that the church needs to evolve with the times in order to remain relevant to its billions of followers. Unsurprisingly, Hopkins and Pryce are outstanding, with Hopkins finding the tenderness and humanity beneath Benedict’s stodgy, intellectual demeanor, and Pryce shading the Argentine cardinal’s famously forward-thinking nature with unexpected texture. Eloquently distilling one of the century’s most impactful, dramatic transitions of power into poignant, tangible human drama, The Two Popes is a film of big ideas with surprising humor and a powerfully emotional core.
CAST: ANTHONY HOPKINS, JONATHAN PRYCE, JUAN MINUJÍN, SIDNEY COLE
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