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TIFF 2019 Film Review: “The Two Popes” (2019) ★★★★★

Courtesy of TIFF

When the world needs a special treatment to get healed from prejudices, the massive divisive culture, racism, misunderstanding, and even ending a conflict that may lead to the next war, we certainly need a leader that should unite us and not divide. As the world is in chaos we’re yet to understand, Fernando Meirelles brings “The Two Popes” starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce to provide a solution the real-life simply cannot. 

Conservative Pope Benedict XVI (Sir Anthony Hopkins) no longer hears the voice of God but only silence. He is tired and wants to retire but won’t do that until cardinal Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) withdraws his resignation so he could become the change the world needs. As the two begin their long conversation about the issues the Church has, what stays inside and outside of it, you will be fully absorbed by the intelligence of the two men that feel and care for the planet much more than anyone else.

The film takes us back and forth, between the time when the Argentinian Priest Francis went through the political turmoil his country endured while Benedict provides his own analysis of why Francis should be the one to replace him. Through their deeply thoughtful and thought-provoking dialogues, we hear strong statements such as priests molesting children but which the Vatican does nothing about; walls being built everywhere when only bridges should have been in place. They talk about the importance of unity and strong leadership more than faith when the only role the Vatican should play is destroying the same walls built between the Holy building and the world. 

Having Jonathan Pryce and Sir Anthony Hopkins in one scene is like an early Christmas gift you will never get tired of. Both actors are eloquent, precise, and straightforward with their performances. The dialogues they deliver are so confident that only actors of their caliber could do it. Indeed, we need movies like this to watch all the time not just because it talks about faith, religion, and God but because it talks about the most urgent issues the Vatican sometimes stays silent about. This film is a must-see because it educates us to be better, smarter, kinder, and patient. It has a therapeutic effect on viewers by lifting up their spirit, healing from the inside, bringing smiles to their faces, and make us more happier than we all are right now. If it is not what we need right now, then what is?

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