We Have a Pope

What If He Left?


07 March 2013| No Comments on We Have a Pope     by Sean Chavel


It’s close, but I can’t in good faith recommend this. We Have a Pope (Italian with English subtitles) takes on the what-if situation of what would transpire if a Vatican cardinal wanted to back out after being elected. The movie has a wry humor to it, with Michel Piccoli (whose stardom came fifty years ago in “Contempt”) as a self-doubting cardinal who believes he is unfit for the job. Nanni Moretti, who directed, plays the psychiatrist who is brought in to analyze the new Pope but is tripped up in the standards and regulations of being on the Vatican premises. The Pope sneaks out and goes off on his own city trek adventure. At this time, the public has yet to see the face of the new Pope so he remains anonymous.

The Pope must call “home” and let his contemporaries know he is alright. There are several good scenes of how the Pope is cordial with ladies who let him borrow their cell phone so he can make a call, and others where the Pope throws rude barking commands at other women who merely think they are trying to help an old man. Meanwhile, to break the tension at the Vatican, the psychiatrist has the cardinals play group volleyball to ease their stress. Also, the world is watching, with thousands waiting outside the Vatican balcony for the Pope to make his initiation appearance.

At the center of our observations we see an old man, unaccustomed to modern society and too cranky to deal with common human problems. He visits the theater where he fondly reminisces of his young days as a stage actor. A paradox is drawn that the Pope would rather be a young actor playing a configured character in a stage play. That is preferable than to be a man of the cloth making big speeches before great crowds.

Alas, he does make a big speech at the end of the film – off the Vatican balcony. It’s a stunner and a whimper at the same time. Ah ha, you think. But what’s next?

“We Have a Pope” will have a re-release at New York’s Lincoln Plaza cinemas starting Wednesday, March 20th and is available on Instant Netflix.

104 Minutes. Unrated. Italian in English subtitles.


Film Cousins: “True Confessions” (1981); “Priest” (1994); “Keeping the Faith” (2000); “Into Great Silence” (2005).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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