The Two Popes Movie Review: Netflix Ends 2019 With This Heavenly Film


David Mudd

Netflix has been aggressively pursuing award recognition recently, and they may have found acting gold with this religious two-hander. The Two Popes Movie Review, Netflix’s next premium film, dramatizes one of the most dramatic power changes in papal history.

The Two Popes will have a limited theatrical release on November 29th before becoming accessible for streaming on Netflix on December 20th, 2019. Review of the film The Two Popes: In Fernando Meirelles‘ latest picture, Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins are outstanding. God bless Netflix for capping off the year on such a high note.

The Two Popes

The emergence of films such as The Two Popes necessitates both joy and serious meditation. Why isn’t every film as fantastic as this one? Is it necessary for us to endure everlasting mediocrity before we are rewarded for our penance? Can Netflix be pardoned for Michael Bay’s transgressions? Not since Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs have the distinct voices of a filmmaker and a writer been brought together with such insight, wit, and visual flare. Anthony McCarten and Fernando Meirelles wrote and directed the film.

What Is the Two Popes All About?

The Two Popes is about many things — the transfer of power, the significance of religion, and the role of pizza as a unifier – but it is ultimately about two lonely elderly men who discover the companionship they want in one another. 

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The Two Popes Movie Review (not to be confused with The New Pope) is based on true events and follows the conservative Pope Benedict and the liberal future Pope Francis as they establish a historic new path for the Catholic Church. Following his retirement request, future-pope Cardinal Bergoglio is summoned to the Vatican, where Pope Benedict exposes a secret that threatens the church’s future, and the two must battle with tradition, development, the troubled past, and, of course, each other.

Plot of the Movie

This historical and humorous drama about Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and his successor, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), the eventual (and present) Pope Francis, is directed by Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener). The film is largely set in 2012, during a watershed moment in the Church’s history, when Bergoglio begs permission from Benedict to resign from the church, with which he has grown dissatisfied.

Bergoglio takes a flight to Rome and meets Benedict at the Pope’s summer residence. When he arrives, he is astonished to discover that Benedict, too, is wrestling with his calling. For many days, the duo chat — and even spar — as they learn they have more in common than they anticipated.

The Two Popes

The Two Popes has been completely and purposely fabricated. (The National Catholic Register’s Steven Greydanus has documented its fabrications.) But it’s also a surprisingly sympathetic and often hilarious look at the promise and hazards of leadership, as well as the struggle to follow God when he appears to be quiet.

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The Two Popes also serves as an introduction to an early dispute in Pope Francis’s life and how it impacted him, and it isn’t hesitant to raise tough questions of its characters regarding church abuse, as well as belief and doubt. And, thanks to two superb performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, who alternate between being serious, angry, whimsical, and amusing, it’s a delightful, frequently intelligent picture, small but with major issues on its mind.

What to Expect From the Movie

Expect outstanding performance from two movie veterans, an intimate look at the Catholic Church, and even an unexpected dash of comedy. The Two Popes Movie Review is a successful conclusion to Netflix’s unofficial awards season trifecta, which includes Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. And it may be the greatest of the bunch. But neither of the two guys at the center of the picture would approve of such a similarity. 

The Two Popes

The exchanges are hilarious, with two artists at the pinnacle of their abilities. Hopkins occasionally breaks into his famed staccato outbursts, but neither outshines the other. A flash of rage in Hopkins’ tone is more powerful than any physical confrontation between Batman and Superman; a hint of affection in Pryce’s voice is more moving than a million sugary romances combined.

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In Netflix’s The Two Popes, Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio have a light moment. As critical as McCarten’s script is of Ratzinger’s Papacy, it does not fully disregard his successes as a political figure. The Catholic Church has had its fair share of disputes, the majority of which have been fostered by tiny men pretending to be God.

Who Is in the Cast of the Two Popes?

Hollywood great Anthony Hopkins plays the similar-looking Pope Benedict, while Game of Thrones actor Jonathan Pryce is virtually indistinguishable from the genuine Pope Francis he is portraying. Also appearing are Juan Minujn, Sidney Cole, and Lisandro Fik.


The Two Popes Movie Review presently has a Metacritic score of 75. “It is extraordinarily difficult to make something as intangible and ineffable as religious devotion seem genuine, let alone affecting, on film; accomplishing so is only one of the successes of Fernando Meirelles’ extraordinary glimpse inside the Vatican,” says Kate Taylor in the Globe and Mail. 

But, as important as some of the problems are, Meirelles never lets his picture be devoured by the pomposity that many of the characters live in. Ratzinger and Bergoglio’s interactions are full of laughter as they dispute their opposing ideas and philosophies, as well as their interpretation of God and Christianity.