THE TWO POPES is a loving study of the relationship between the men from the Vatican from opposing schools of thought.

Directed by Fernando Meirelles [City of God, The Constant Gardner] and wonderfully adapted by Anthony McCarten and Frank Cotrrel[-Boyce from a play written by McCarten, The Two Popes is a moving and absorbing biographical drama about the relationship between-

Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI [Anthony Hopkins] and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio , of course, goes to become the future Pope Francis and the reformer of the Catholic Church that we know today.

Set mostly in 2012, the film is a loving study of the relationship between the men from opposing schools of thought. It is also about spirituality, forgiveness and love.

Pope Benedict XVI, the traditionalist, defended conventional Catholic doctrine on homosexuality, inter-faith dialogue and birth-control against growing secular views in Europe.

He often ate by himself with on faith keeping him company. As a result he was lonelier than he realised, especially when he felt that God had stopped responding to him.

On the other hand, Bergoglio had far more modern views on such matters. He shunned display of wealth, ate and serve the common man, and believed that religion must change with times.

In 2005, the two men crossed paths after the death of Pope Jon Paul II. Here, Joseph Ratzinger received the most votes while Bergoglio received the second most votes to replace him. Eventually Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI.

Seven years later, the Catholic Church was rocked by the Vatican Leaks scandal, where shocking allegations of blackmail, corruption, petty politics, and homosexual clergy came to the surface. These allegations were the final nail in the coffin for Bergoglio.

Already disillusioned by the hardline views of the church, he submits his resignation as Archbishop, hoping to serve God more privately.

After he doesn't get a response, he flies down to Rome to personally get Pope Benedict XVI's signature on his resignation letter. immediately, there's friction. The Pope is hurt by Bergoglio's public criticism of the church.

When Bergoglio explains that it's not personal, the Pope claims that Bergoglio has comprised before. Bergoglio explains that he didn't compromise, he changed. And he believes that religion also must change.

Over the next few days, the two spend time with each other and grow fond of each other's company. The Pope has held a secret. He wanted to be the first Pope to resign since 1415, he has feared, that Bergoglio will be voted his replacement.

Now, he realises that Bergoglio is exactly the man the world needs. But Bergoglio doesn't want the job. Holding him back are choices he made during a violent revolution in Argentina decades back where his friends were tortured.

The Two Popes' screenplay flows very smoothly. The 125-minute film is almost entirely based on the relationship and conversations between the two men., yet is over before you know it. The values about mistakes, growth, and spirituality make the film compelling.

However, the script has its flaws. It glosses over the failings of the church and the Vatican leaks scandal. Moreover, it is too forgiving of Pope Bendict XVI.

On the other hand, the performances are excellent. Anthony Hopkins gives one of the greatest and finest performance, steals scenes with his typically quiet quiet yet captivating masterly performance.

Jonathan Pryce is simply sublime as the future Pope Francis. He captures his humor, wit and empathy perfectly. The two actors have the sort of rare chemistry that makes the film a must-watch.

The World Students Society thanks review author Noman Ansari.


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