Movie Review: “The Two Popes”

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Guest post by James Lu.

I watched The Two Popes, and some people asked me to give my tuppence worth. So here goes.

I was expecting this movie to be largely inaccurate, but they actually accurately portrayed the machinations of the Sankt-Gallen Mafia, the general dislike for Pope Benedict even amongst his own brother cardinals, and the growing push for liberalization and reform amongst bishops and certain strains of the faithful (however small those pockets may be).

The intricacies of the relationship between Pope Benedict and Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) are also captured with great detail, it’s almost endearing. One has the sense that they start to see each other as siblings rather than theological and political rivals as they were in the conclave of 2005.

What I didn’t like was the brief albeit sensationalized treatment of the case of Fr. Marcel Macial, or their portrayal of Benedict as an ineffectual force against pædophilic priests (he defrocked over 400 cases as he received them as Pope, and defrocked hundreds more as Prefect of the CDF under St John Paul II). But given how the film seeks to portray the agitation for a reformist and the disquiet from certain sections of the Church, I suppose some poetic license is to be expected.

What is interesting is how the film portrays the Dirty War and what the then-Superior General of the Jesuits in Argentina, a young Fr. Bergoglio, did or omitted to do during the course of said war. We don’t actually know too much, but the film is careful not to impute anything onto the person of Pope Francis, which is quite tasteful.

Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce were definitely great choices for the title roles. Overall, it was a rather tasteful film.


James is entering his third and final year of a Bachelor of Theology.
His interests are in church history, moral theology, and the lives of the Popes.

Guest Writer

Guest Writer

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