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‘The Two Popes’ true story: What the Netflix movie changed

Directed by Fernando Meirelles of City of God fame, this pseudo-biographical drama imagines a series of meetings between Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger and Jorge Bergoglio, the previous and current Popes. The movie imagines a series of meetings between the previous and current Pope, but in doing so, 'The Two Popes' true story can be skewed.


The Two Popes movie has been on Oscar predictors’ radars since its announcement in large part thanks to its baity concept, the hype surrounding actors Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, and the presence of screenwriter Anthony McCarten, whose three previous works nabbed Best Actor Oscars for their respective leads.

Based on his own play, McCarten hypothesizes a series of conversations between the two figureheads of the Catholic Church, each with seemingly opposing viewpoints on the institution’s needs and agendas. Benedict XVI is a hard-line traditionalist who is seen as a relic of the past while the future Pope Francis, a Jesuit who prioritizes a peaceful life of caring for the poor, is positioned as what the Church needs to stay relevant in the 21st century.

It’s certainly an intriguing concept and one that makes for some interesting philosophical quandaries which make up the lion’s share of the film. 

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