Date TimeSeptember 12, 2019
VoiceHopkins’s Benedict XVI and Pryce’s Francis I make for a winning Vatican odd couple in this succession drama whose careful script ends not with a bang but a wimple
The Two Popes: Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce divine in papal faceoff
Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce find some tremendous actorly form in this humorous, indulgent, lop-sidedly sentimental “Pope-off” which becomes a Pontiff bromance adapted by Frank Cottrell-Boyce from Anthony McCarten’s stage-play and directed by Fernando Meirelles.It’s an entertaining if preposterous imagining of private meetings supposedly taking place a decade ago between Pope Benedict XVI, formerly the Austrian Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Hopkins) and the Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Pryce) as the Pope was pondering his sensational decision to retire, and before Bergoglio – the supposed liberal and critic of the incumbent’s conservative views – was to be elevated to the papacy as Francis I.Bergoglio travels to the Pope’s summer palace outside Rome, wishing to submit in person his own request for a retirement; the Pope sharply rejects it, ostensibly because such a retirement would be seen as a criticism of his own leadership. But could it be, with infinite subtlety, His Holiness wishes to keep Bergoglio in post – because he wishes to prepare him for the big job?

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