It’s one of those movies you wish wouldn’t end.
“The Two Popes”—now on Netflix—is an excellent film featuring extraordinary performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, both just nominated for Golden Globes. It has also scored nominations for best drama and best screenplay.
It’s a joyous story loosely based on a complicated relationship between the dogmatic German (played by Hopkins) who became Pope Benedict XVI and the more liberal Argentinian cardinal (played by Pryce) who became the sitting Pope Francis.
An apparently fictionalized few days the two spend together not long before Benedict announces his resignation are the film’s focus. Rivals begin to understand, consult and console one another, even hearing each other’s confession. It’s not exactly “The Odd Couple,” but there are moments, and the chemistry between the two actors succeeds.
I’ve been a Hopkins fan ever since “Silence of the Lambs.” He may have topped himself with this role, defined as “supporting.” He’s at the front of the screen much of the time but importantly knows when to yield to Pryce, lately of “Game of Thrones.” Pryce bears striking resemblance to the real Pope Francis. Another actor, Juan Minujin, plays Francis in black and white flashbacks where the current pope confronts his failings.
The film uses a light brush on ecclesiastical issues and complicated matters confronting the modern church. But there’s good attention to the ritual, drama and tradition that are part of the behind-locked-doors selection of a new pope.
“The Two Popes” carries deep emotion and good humor. If you enjoy fine acting, you’ll savor this movie.