REVIEW: ‘The Two Popes’ has a pair of great performances, and not much else

“The Two Popes” combines two things that are supposed to be left off the table at family get-togethers: religion and politics. The two subjects are ripe for good acting performances, though, which is what this movie provides.

The movie mostly takes place in early 2013, just before Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) resigned and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) was elected to the position. The film explores how Benedict came to his decision to resign, the first pope to do so since 1415, and his conversations with Jorge, now Pope Francis.

The drama mostly comes from Francis and Benedict being on opposite sides of what direction the church should go. Francis leans more toward a liberal viewpoint, and therefore wants to reform the Catholic Church. Benedict, meanwhile, was pushing a more conservative view, with an agenda to keep church traditions. The two, though, eventually find common ground.

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