Feature

We Have a Pope

A newly elected pontiff flees the Vatican.

Directed by Nanni Moretti(Not rated) 

**

Nanni Moretti’s gently humorous film about a reluctant pope-elect is not the anti-church broadside that fans of the Italian director expected, said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. From the moment the pontiff-to-be responds to his unexpected selection with a howl, this is instead a portrait of “a single soul in crisis,” and its critique of Catholic doctrine is subtly embedded in the star’s performance. Michel Piccoli—“a giant of European cinema”—brings both dignity and an unworldly innocence to the role, especially when he flees his fellow cardinals for Rome’s streets, said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. As Piccoli gradually finds his footing among the common folk, his melancholy sojourn is juxtaposed with broadly comic scenes back at the Vatican. None of the intended comedy works, though, said Sheri Linden in the Los Angeles Times. Moretti is “bordering on cutesy” when he has the waiting cardinals kill time with a volleyball tournament, while similar gambits are mere distractions. Piccoli nearly saves the film, but the storytelling is simply “too gingerly to be persuasive.”

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