What if the old pope died, but nobody wanted to take his place? We Have a Pope posits that they would end up electing someone who didn’t want to be pope, who would then spend the balance of a movie trying to avoid the office entirely. That’s slightly more optimistic than reality, since there’s always someone who wants the reins of power, but it could still make for a clever movie if done right.
Here’s the trailer, which is in Italian and subtitled, which makes watching it an automatically more cultured and intelligent experience:
I’ll give it credit for not simply being slapstick, but the trailer fails to really hit the right notes. It feels like Dave except set in the world of the papacy instead of the presidency. But that also comes with all the flaws of that other forgettable film. It feels like it trivializes the nuances of a world of power, without bringing subversive commentary to the table. The real issues of power loom too large to suspend disbelief though. It’s cute that this guy doesn’t want power, but there is a cacophony of controversy neatly sidestepped. To make a film that rings true to reality, you have to be willing to face those controversies and issues though, or you just end up with a hollow exercise.