The Good Pope

Watch The Good Pope

  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 3 hr
  • 7.0  (324)

The Good Pope is a biographical drama film released in 2003. It tells the story of Pope John XXIII, who became the leader of the Catholic Church in 1958 and served until his death in 1963. The film stars Bob Hoskins as the titular character and Carlo Cecchi and Roberto Citran in supporting roles. The film begins with Angelo Roncalli (played by Carlo Cecchi), a simple Italian priest, being summoned to Rome by Pope Pius XII to serve as the Vatican's representative in France. Roncalli is shown to be a warm and compassionate man, who is well-liked by the people that he meets in his travels. However, he soon finds himself caught up in the politics and intrigue of the Vatican, where he is seen as an outsider.

When Pope Pius XII dies, Roncalli is unexpectedly elected as the new pope, taking the name John XXIII. At first, many in the Vatican are skeptical about his leadership, seeing him as a radical change from the conservative policies of his predecessor. However, John XXIII quickly proves to be a charismatic and progressive leader, who is determined to reform the church and make it more relevant to the modern world.

Throughout the film, John XXIII is shown to be a man of great humility, who is willing to listen to the opinions of others and seek compromise wherever possible. He is also shown to be a man of deep faith, who believes that the Catholic Church has a duty to help the poor and oppressed. This is highlighted in a scene where he meets with a group of African bishops, who are struggling to cope with the effects of colonialism on their people.

Despite being an old man, John XXIII is shown to be full of energy and enthusiasm. He embarks on a series of ambitious reforms, including the convening of the Second Vatican Council, which aimed to modernize the church's teachings and practices. This is a major theme of the film, as John XXIII is portrayed as a visionary who is willing to challenge the status quo and risk controversy in order to bring the Catholic Church into the modern age.

Throughout the film, there are also several flashbacks to John XXIII's early life, showing his upbringing in a poor Italian family and his years as a priest in various parts of the world. These flashbacks provide insight into John XXIII's character, showing him to be a man of great compassion and empathy, who is deeply committed to his faith and his fellow human beings.

The acting in the film is uniformly excellent, with Bob Hoskins giving a standout performance as John XXIII. He brings a warmth and humanity to the character that makes him highly likable and engaging. Carlo Cecchi and Roberto Citran also give strong performances as the young and old Angelo Roncalli, respectively.

The production values of the film are generally good, although some of the special effects are a bit dated. The film's score, by Ennio Morricone, is excellent and provides an evocative backdrop to the action on screen.

Overall, The Good Pope is a well-crafted and engaging drama that provides a fascinating insight into the life of one of the most important figures in modern Catholic history. Although it may not be for everyone, particularly those who are not interested in religious or historical subjects, it is a film that will likely appeal to fans of biographical dramas and those who are interested in the inner workings of the Catholic Church.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    3 hr
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (324)