- Director: Fernando Meirelles
- Writer: Anthony McCarten
- Producer: Tracey Seaward; Enzo Sisti
Complete and utter fantastical fiction...encased in fact!
Pope Benedict vs Pope Francis vs Pope Benedict...and, the words of Anthony McCarten [surely, he must get the Oscar!], this is like a court transcript with all the theatricality you would expect from two of the most high-profile defendants/claimants...ever!
Fernando Meirelles - miraculously - makes his audience the judge. God doesn't feature [much]...perhaps, he's the lone [unnecessary] juror...a little lost in the struggles of defence, duty and destiny. This is not about 'Him' - this is about two men with [questionable] histories [possibly & probably] unbefitting of the office in which they occupy.
Anthony Hopkins is - truly - terrifying as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger [Benedict], from Hitler Youth to the Holy See, an intellectual homophobe and the 'cleaner' & 'fixer' of many of the many child abuse crimes. How he 'fixed' them is an entire film of its own...and, Señor Meirelles & Mr McCarten deliver a masterstroke, eschewing any presumption and/or controversy...they simply leave this man's [full] story open for investigation by the audience. It's clever...so clever in fact that Ratzinger becomes - in front of our very eyes - a darling little old man who has a child's excitement for new discoveries.
Pizza. Fanta. ABBA...wholly hysterical.
More worldly-wise, Jonathan Pryce's Francis is a stark contrast. Benedict is painted from shade to light...Francis, quite the reverse. A different kind of homophobe...but, still...a homophobe. The great reformer...but, still...has not reformed. His part in the Dirty War...and, yes...more sex abuse scandals...Julio Grassi, convicted by the State, admonished but not laicized...by him. Really, the question simmers for a while...then, boils to the point of asking: Is this man fit for his office?
Massive questions, massive intellect...and, massively entertaining...with equal amounts of laughter, tears and anger. Expect the unexpected...for it does come! Superb direction. Performances without criticism. But...the star that shines brighter is...the writing.
Explores the relationship and opposing visions between two of the most powerful leaders in the Catholic Church, both of whom must address their own pasts and the demands of the modern world in order to move the church forward.