Movie Review: We Have a Pope

What happens when a new pope doesn’t feel up to the job?

Unlike executives, actors and even kings, a pope cannot abdicate his position. He has been chosen by God via the College of Cardinals to assume this auspicious role.

In We Have a Pope, atheist director Nanni Moretti, addresses this question and presents us with a gripping character study of a man struggling with a profound sense of inadequacy.

Michel Piccoli plays the part of Cardinal Melville, an unassuming cleric who was not considered one of the frontrunners for the papacy. He accepts the post but is overwhelmed by stage fright and refuses to give the traditional message from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. The cardinals and a Vatican bureaucrat (Jerzy Stuhr) stall for time, hoping that Melville will rise to the occasion. They invite a local psychiatrist (Moretti)to counsel the pope.

Melville manages to slip away and heads into the streets of Rome. Meanwhile the psychiatrist, who cannot leave the Vatican because of security reasons, entertains the other cardinals with his dry wit and a volleyball tournament.

Moretti enjoys poking fun at the Catholic Church, mocking the antics, insecurities and drug dependencies of the cardinals.

While I enjoyed this dramedy, I was disappointed by the ending.