on viewing the two popes

Source: architecturaldigest.com

When The Two Popes movie was announced, I began looking forward to it, especially since I had just been gifted with a Netflix account.

Within a week of its appearance on Netflix, I watched this movie and was entertained by superb acting and a crisp, concise script. As a practising Catholic, I sent off a notice to a friend who I thought might also enjoy it. The response I received surprised me: “Joan, I hate to burst your bubble but here are a couple of reviews of the movie.”

Those reviews were written by well-known theologians, but their negative opinions did not change mine. I was still so pleased to have watched it.

Another friend let me know that she did not have Netflix and could she watch the movie at my home? Of course, I welcomed the opportunity of viewing it for a second time with her. This lady loved the movie as much as me.

My second viewing pointed out more of the humour and again, accentuated the flawless acting ability of its stars, Anthony Hopkins who plays Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Pryce who is Pope Francis. I gained a new understanding of the life of our present Pope, Francis. His call to the priesthood is documented as well as some of the struggles he faced as a bishop in Argentina.

With all of the horrific films being made today, many of them with spine tingling graphic scenes that can inspire an audience to negativity, it is refreshing that there are still movies being made like The Two Popes.

I had watched an interview with Anthony Hopkins prior to seeing the movie and he was asked a question regarding his own faith. His response was simple: “In 1975 I had a serious alcohol problem and I knew it was time to make a change. Believe me, I was only able to succeed in overcoming this problem because of the help that I received from God.”

It is my hope that many lapsed Catholics will take the time to watch this movie, and perhaps, open their hearts to the friendship and humanity of these leaders of our church. They might just be inspired to return to regular worship again.

It does not concern me whether every word of dialogue is factual; the story was written with respect, friendship and a mutual understanding of the burden of this Vatican office.

This movie made me so happy to have chosen to convert to Catholicism over 50 years ago! I am also very proud to pray daily for Pope Francis, because I trust that he is giving us his very best effort!

Joan Levy Earle is an author and artist living in Cornwall, Ontario. She is the former Associate Editor of the Canadian Messenger of the Sacred Heart magazine.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 01:10h, 12 February Reply

    Thank you Joan!

  • Vicky Chen
    Posted at 07:03h, 12 February Reply

    Like you, I enjoy this movie tremendously. I also read some negative reviews by people I respected. After searching out the interviews of the cast during the film festival I get a better understanding of the background. I have watched the movie several times. It is not difficult to appreciate the talent of all those involved. The Two Popes shows us the challenges and mysteries of life. God is never too far away. The humorous conversations are delightful, very clever creation of the screenwriter.

    Thank you for writing about this.

  • Suzanne
    Posted at 09:48h, 12 February Reply

    Thank you Joan for your review. I too, loved the movie. And it has been interesting to me that those I have encountered lately, view the film negatively from the reviews it got. Some of these people have not even seen the film! Yes, both my husband and I loved the film and were pleasantly surprised! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Charles Pottie-Páté
    Posted at 10:56h, 12 February Reply

    Thanks for your review of the film, Joan. It was well acted and it showed very well the two different approaches to being church in today’s world. It showed the humanity of both the the men called to this awesome burden of being leaders in the church, Keep praying for Pope Francis that his style and approach may continue to guide us in today’s world.

  • Larry Martell
    Posted at 11:38h, 12 February Reply

    Loved the movie. It illustrated to me how two Catholics with significantly different views can respect, love, and embrace each other. If only we could all learn that lesson.

  • Margaret (Peggy) Wilson
    Posted at 21:45h, 12 February Reply

    Catholic or not this beauty speaks to those who have a relationship with God. I loved to learn how they were “called” and the beauty of a relationship with God. The truth yes, but it would be unbearable without love is one my favorite quotes from the movie. As a practicing Catholic surrounded by many agnostics, aethiests and people who practice their own brand of spirituality, it was refreshing when my friend’s blue haired seventeen year old daughter asked me about my faith and wanted to know about it. She and her friends had seen it on Netflix. It is evangelizing and showing the continuing relevance of the Catholic church to a generation who has never been to church. And to do so with reverence to these two men’s faith and the role they play within their church done at such a wonderful artistic level truly is a gift to all who see it.

  • Peggy Spencer
    Posted at 04:04h, 13 February Reply

    A great review on a great movie.

  • Leanna Obirek
    Posted at 01:39h, 14 February Reply

    Me too, Miss Joan. Loved every frame.

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