Kardashian sighting. Around this process lies fertile ground for comedy, both slapstick and ironic. There's a touch of that (for example the lights going out and church members insisting nothing is wrong, as well as a confused Vatican reporter). Though it's low grade compared with the mostly sweetly handled existential crisis that the accidental Pope has to deal with. I smiled throughout the film, but never really was engaged enough to recommend the final result as must see cinema. Though it certainly has its charms and likely will be a winner with segments of the viewing audience, who are not me.
After his selection the new pope (Michel Piccoli) gets almost to the
balcony where he will address the crowd. An ear splitting scream suggests
something is wrong and there is. The new Pope won't go through with it. Church
officials hope a cooling off period, and then perhaps a psychologist might help.
Eventually Piccolo finds himself wandering through Rome revisiting either his
life that could have been or just experiencing life in the messy wonderful world
outside the Vatican walls. Either way he delivers a strong performance that's
believable in an unbelievable situation. I could talk in more detail, but the
best parts of the picture are experiencing the slowly paced ride and the
characters. So I won't delve any deeper.
I struggled to understand what I didn't love about the film. After a fair
amount of thinking I've decided that it just felt too mild. While there's a
sweetness and heartfelt nature to the exercise the punches are pulled and the
humor is low grade. At least it was for me. There is a pleasantly subversive
sense to everything. From a room full of cardinals begging God not to choose
them as pope to the hiring of a non-believer divorced psychiatrist whose not
allowed to ask the reluctant pontiff anything of significance. And of course
there's the paradox of the infallible leader of the church being told his
decision not to be pope is wrong. All in all a pleasant if personally under
whelming experiment. To which I cannot picture rushing out to see in a theater
given other more engaging options. But that's just me.