We Have A Pope

  • Film
  • Drama
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Nanni Moretti, second from left, in We Have a Pope
Nanni Moretti’s lightly amusing reconstruction of life in the Vatican after the election of a reluctant Pope can’t decide whether it’s a drama or a comedy, a satire or a sympathetic portrait of a man in crisis. Luckily, veteran French actor Michel Piccoli as a Pontiff in meltdown is a joy even when Moretti’s tentative, exploratory script is unsure what to do with him.

The film’s early, sombre scenes are the strongest as Moretti mixes footage from Pope John Paul II’s funeral with his own imagining of the ensuing Papal Conclave. There’s subtle, wry comedy as the Cardinals treat voting for a replacement like bingo and most of them pray to God they won’t be chosen. But the new Pope has a wobble and refuses to reveal his face. Moretti enters the frame as a psychiatrist but the potential for an intimate ‘Analyse His Supreme Holiness’ is lost: Moretti’s character can’t treat someone whom he knows, so he sends the Pope to see a colleague outside the Vatican.

The Pope does a runner, spending his days wandering the streets, speaking to a therapist, living in a hotel and taking interest in theatre. Meanwhile, back in the Vatican, Moretti entertains the Cardinals by playing cards and setting up a game of volleyball. There’s farce, soul-searching and comic absurdism, with little for the Vatican to worry about. It’s an uneven film, almost pleasingly vague in its conclusions yet also unsatisfying. A bombastic final scene contrasts oddly with most of the film’s gently meandering, inquiring air.

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday December 2 2011
Duration: 102 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Nanni Moretti
Screenwriter: Nanni Moretti
Cast: Margherita Buy
Roberto Nobile
Michel Piccoli
Jerzy Stuhr
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