THE TWO POPES works for the same reason that THE CROWN on TV works – it treats icons as people, brings them down to the level of the rest of us normal folks. The transition from Pope Benedict to Francis last decade was an interesting one – seldom has a Pope chosen to retire. Showing Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) and soon-to-be-Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) ordering in pizza and Fanta to the Vatican is a lovely touch. Having them watch football and bad cop shows from their respective homelands is another. There’s some snappy dialogue that does a lot of the character-building legwork – Francis: “I’m Argentinian, the tango and football are compulsory” / Benedict: “Please do not make a joke of everything I say. It’s dishonest and cynical. Have the respect to show me your real anger” – but the two leads’ subtle and grounded performances help to keep the story involving, even when murky flashbacks intrude. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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