The Two Popes Movie on Netflix with Anthony Hopkins - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 3 Old 12-04-2019, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
WilliamR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 12,741
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2074 Post(s)
Liked: 2664
The Two Popes Movie on Netflix with Anthony Hopkins

'Two Popes’ review: Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce enliven a papal buddy film

I’d love to live in a world where the collective citizenry could agree on a set of facts, historical or present-day, to guide our way forward. I’d love to, and that would in no way impede on my enjoyment of fact-adjacent, largely bogus charmers such as “The Two Popes,” the latest Netflix title deigning to open in a few theaters here and there prior to its Dec. 20 streaming premiere.

With a little less snazz than usual, Fernando Meirelles (“City of God,” “The Constant Gardener”) nonetheless directs the daylights out of this buddy-pope vehicle for two skillful performers. Anthony Hopkins plays Benedict XVI, aka Joseph Ratzinger; as the more progressive, street-level Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio Jonathan Pryce lends just enough self-effacing wit to make Bergoglio interesting as well as admirable.

It opens in one key, shifts to another, and returns to a graver key for a somewhat wobbly third act. In 2005, Bergoglio and Ratzinger finish second and first, respectively, in the papal enclave. Aside from later flashbacks to Argentina, detailing Bergoglio’s ethically compromised involvement in the 1970s “dirty wars” waged by the military dictatorship, most of “The Two Popes” unfolds in 2012.

A clandestine meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Bergoglio likely never happened. This does not prevent screenwriter Anthony McCarten from imagining it had. With the Catholic Church rocked by clergy abuse scandals and a badly tarnished image, the Pope has lost his way, and his stamina. Bergoglio represents a theological opponent, restless with hidebound tradition and the Vatican’s devotion to secrecy. In “The Two Popes” Benedict summons Bergoglio to Italy to sell him on the idea of taking over the job.

The selling point of the movie, meantime, lies with the considerable satisfaction of seeing two wily veterans have at it. The material’s easily digestible (at least until the unwieldly Argentina flashbacks commence), quippy and bright. Yes, it’s theology lite. Yes, it’s contrived. Yes, it’s largely fictional. Welcome to the movies! “The Two Popes” works as a film about unlikely friendship between two men of real and intriguing contrasts. Bergoglio introduces Ratzinger to the pleasures of soccer (aka football); Ratzinger quietly regales Bergoglio with his piano interludes. The film hums along.

While Meirelles urges McCarten’s script toward grander ambitions, there’s only so much heft a genial two-hander can manage. From “Darkest Hour” (good), “The Theory of Everything” (quite good), “Bohemian Rhapsody” (bad but a smash) to “The Two Popes,” McCarten has become the Archbishop of Biopic. It’s reassuring to see Hopkins return to form, after several years of authoritative coasting. As for Pryce, his affinity for morally comprised men of high achievement (“The Wife,” etc. ) keeps his portrayal of the film’s clear moral paragon from hardening into sainthood.

“The Two Popes” — 3 stars

MPAA rating: PG-13 (for thematic content and some disturbing violent images)

Running time: 2:06

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/enter...szy-story.html

WilliamR is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 3 Old 12-04-2019, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
WilliamR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 12,741
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2074 Post(s)
Liked: 2664
Official trailer (comes out 12/20):






Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict:






Jonathan Pryce:



WilliamR is offline  
post #3 of 3 Old 12-20-2019, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
WilliamR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 12,741
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2074 Post(s)
Liked: 2664
From HOTP thread:

The Two Popes: Heavenly Performances Give Netflix's Film Wings
By Jordan Hoffman, TVGuide.com - Dec. 20, 2019

Netflix's film The Two Popes starts with one Pope, Pope John Paul II. He was head of the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005, a good long run, third longest, in fact, in nearly 2000 years. When he died, the Cardinals assembled to find their new leader, which involves a specific set of rituals. There's white smoke, there's black smoke, and everyone's wearing red. To the devout, a new Pope is as close as a living human comes to being divine. He (always a he) is in direct lineage with St.Peter, and once he is announced, he becomes infallible.

In reality, the assembled Cardinals who vote are still just people, albeit ones who can recite Bible passages from memory. There's favoritism, there's politicking. A likely conservative candidate who really wants the job is Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany (Anthony Hopkins). There are others, particularly reformers, many of whom do not come from Europe, who have their eye on Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina instead, mainly because he is righteous enough to not want the position.

Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) is immediately set up as the "good guy." He books his own flights, he whistles ABBA while visiting the toilet, he has changed (or is it compromised?) his opinion about homosexuality as a sin. Naturally, it's Ratzinger who becomes elected Pope. All the Cardinals go home and, in time, Bergoglio, beloved though he is by his local flock, decides he wants to retire.

This requires sign off by the Pope, however, and Benedict XVI (as Ratzinger is now known) won't respond to his requests. Begoglio flies to Rome and, with all this backstory (and actual news clips) over with, we sink our teeth into what makes this film worth watching: an adapted stageplay between two spectacular actors.

Hopkins represents the old and Pryce the new, and while the two men are in disagreement on everything under the sun, there is a respect and civility between them that is positively quaint. The two parry on religious doctrine in a garden, then schmooze by a piano after supper (and even watch videos of American jazz musician Thelonious Monk). The Pope will not authorize the Cardinal's retirement because everyone knows that Bergoglio is pushing for reform. If he leaves, it will be interpreted as an act of defiance. It's some 5th-dimensional chess the Pope is playing; in order to stay strong he must keep his greatest critic aboard.

But before this meet-up concludes, Bergoglio gets into Pope Benedict's head. The Church must adapt to the times, or it will become irrelevant. Cut to later (and another lengthy tête-à-tête in a re-created Sistine Chapel) and Benedict has landed on an unexpected conclusion. He wants to abdicate his position, something almost unheard of in Roman Catholicism, and have Bergoglio take over.

More theological discussion commences (Bergoglio argues that to suffer in an unwanted position will bring the Pope closer to Christ) but he's got his mind made up.

While this is hardly action cinema, it is all extremely watchable if this sort of behind-the-robes story is your cup of sacramental wine. There are also some undeniably remarkable performances going on. Unfortunately, the film takes a dead stop with a lengthy and tedious flashback.

When Bergoglio demurs the offer, he confesses his sin; in Argentina during the 1970s, fascist governments took power, and the Cardinal was perhaps too cozy with them. The film suggests that he merely "did what he had to do" to save lives, but it blazes by at supersonic speed, perplexing anyone who isn't too schooled in this corner of world history. (Allow me to sheepishly raise my hand and call myself out here.) A volley of confessions between the two men continues, with Bergoglio discussing his time making amends for his politics, and Benedict admitting he did not do enough (or anything, really) dealing with the Catholic sex abuse crisis.

None of this is really resolved in the film, but director Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener) and screenwriter Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody), adapting his own play, keep their focus on "two flawed men trying to do what is right." It ends with lots of jokes (pizza! orange soda! The World Cup!) that is agreeable and fun because Hopkins and Pryce are terrific. Admittedly, if I had a more personal connection to aforementioned scandals swept under the rug, perhaps I'd be seeing red.

For a Netflix production, The Two Popes feels like maybe it was their Oscar-bet safety school. The Irishman was a gigantic production with risky special effects and Marriage Story could have been a swing-and-a-miss. This juicy yarn (it's quite similar to The Queen, but swap out the Monarchy with the Church!) is a prestige picture on intelligent themes with two classy leads and a respected international director. It is strong, but it isn't absolutely essential. There's much to admire, but should you end up giving it a skip it doesn't merit going to confession.

The Two Popes premieres Friday, Dec. 20 on Netflix.
TV Guide Rating: 3.5/5

https://www.tvguide.com/news/the-two...onathan-pryce/

WilliamR is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply HDTV Programming

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off