We Have a Pope

Feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, a newly elected pope (a superb Michel Piccoli) flees his duty, and director Nanni Moretti steps in as the secular psychotherapist hired for desperate damage control. This could go very and variously wrong, but Moretti and his co-writers Francesco Piccolo and Federica Pontremoli settle neither for cutesy comedy nor a cheap-shot satire of official Catholicism. Instead they opt for sympathetic and fable-like simplicity, with surprisingly poignant results. If the movie’s pacing periodically slackens, it also gives a graceful sense that some meandering is of the essence: With the noble humility of a Henry V disguised among his troops on the eve of Agincourt, this reluctant pontiff roams Roman streets in order to let himself and life become reacquainted. Also with the also great Jerzy Stuhr as a put-upon Vatican spokesman.

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