The Two Popes poster

“You know, there’s a saying: God always corrects one pope by presenting the world with another pope. I should… I’d like to see my correction.”

Pope Benedict

Although the script seems entirely speculative, in the measured hands of Hopkins and Pryce, the private conversations between Pope Benedict and Pope Francis feel both intimate and believable. These are two intelligent men with deeply divided views on the future of the Catholic Church: one a traditionalist and one a reformist (at least relatively speaking). Despite the title, The Two Popes is focused firmly on Pope Francis — still Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio for the majority of the film — and we see Pope Benedict largely through his eyes. The film skirts around the accusations that Pope Benedict’s resignation was linked to knowledge of the Church concealing abuse, though perhaps the lack of resolution itself speaks volumes. Ultimately The Two Popes is more focused on how its two very different characters come to understand one another, if not actually agree.