The Two Popes review round-up: Netflix film belongs to gifted lead actors who inject warmth into the proceedings

The Two Popes follows Pope Francis, who, frustrated with the direction of the church, requests permission to retire in 2012, from Pope Benedict.

FP Staff September 03, 2019 09:41:30 IST
The Two Popes review round-up: Netflix film belongs to gifted lead actors who inject warmth into the proceedings

The Two Popes follows Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce), who, frustrated with the direction of the church, requests permission to retire in 2012, from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church.

Here are the early reviews of The Two Popes

Variety praises Pryce and Hopkins' on-point acting, and even lauds Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles' efforts at exploring deadly Papal areas, especially with respect tot he present political scenario. The publication opines, "When it comes time to consider what’s at stake, the movie goes big, reminding why the pope can be the world’s greatest ally — a leader in knocking down walls (the movie’s looking at you, Trump), respecting those without resources, protecting the planet and unifying its inhabitants. While its subject may be religious, The Two Popes doesn’t want to convert you."

The Two Popes review roundup Netflix film belongs to gifted lead actors who inject warmth into the proceedings

Still from The Two Popes. Image from Twitter

The Hollywood Reporter even predicts a good theatre haul for the Netflix original, mostly owing to what it claims are "two outstanding performances from Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce", and "a triumph of writing as well as unostentatious filmmaking." "Message-mongering is not the primary purpose of the drama imagined by McCarten and Meirelles. Rather, they have constructed a searching exchange between two men of very different backgrounds and beliefs and have encouraged us to see the growing understanding between these antagonists as a model that might point the way forward in an increasingly divided world."

IndieWire mirrors Variety's take on the actors, stating that their craft uplifts the film into a realm of strong, impactful storytelling. Says the publication, "The Two Popes truly belongs to its gifted actors, as they inject a degree of warmth into the proceedings, turning both men into sympathetic figures with profound convictions."

The Wrap marvels at Meirelles' humorous take on a subject of grave importance. “The Two Popes is greatly entertaining, despite it being a long conversation with breaks that take us into the flashbacks of Bergoglio’s early life. The combination of the adept and seasoned actors, the witty repartee of the script and Meirelles’ bent towards humor take what might have been didactic and preachy and transform it into something heartwarming and even inspirational," says the publication.

The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on 31 August. The film will premiere on Netflix on 20 December.

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