Join in the fun that Catholics and conspiracy theorists are having by watching these four Vatican movies that will make you see the Pope in a whole new light. Not just a pointy hat and viewpoints that come off as archaic, the Pope is a meaty target for the creation of conspiracy theories. Put on your aluminum hat, grab some holy water and get swept up in the intrigue and humor that lies behind the walls of the Vatican.
"The Order." Two popes for the price of one? “The Order” is a movie that will shed a new light upon that old Pope image. First you have Peter Weller as the Pope in training, who evidences a lot of control and palpable, aggressive evil while balancing the role of a pious man who deserves the papacy. Next up is the “Black Pope” who embraces the idea of magic with a serious bent on death. So you have two different personas, one the pious, evil Pope and the other a twisted, version of the ideals that one would hope to have in a spiritual leader. Throw in Heath Ledger as a priest who must hunt down a Sin Eater, who through his consumption of a person’s sins allows them a path to heaven that openly contradicts Catholic teaching, and you have an interesting movie that delves into the dark side of the Papacy, offering a nice little story about personal redemption and inner turmoil. The scene where Ledger’s character finds out that his friend Dominic cannot be buried on consecrated ground is a solid, heartfelt moment that opens questions about religion in all who have lost a loved one.
"The Pope Must Diet." Featuring the affable Robbie Coltrane, “The Pope Must Diet” bears a groanable title but manages to provide an amusing look into the Vatican while still bearing witness to issues that resonate with current events. Gunning after corruption within the church and the lack of charity, this film keeps up a good spirited storyline while poking fun at itself and the weaknesses that come with a large, secretive society. Goofy but lovable, like Coltrane, the story makes you see a Pope that the church needs, not despite his foibles but because of them. Watch for the Pope taking matters into his own hands when a door gets in his way and you’ll see the Pope as the man of action people wish for.
"The Pink Panther 2." The spiritual leader of the Catholic church gets to play the straight man to Steve Martin’s Clouseau in “The Pink Panther 2." Any man who can maintain a straight face while dealing with an idiot savant like Clouseau clearly is closer to God than the rest of us. Enjoy the respect the papal hat receives no matter the wearer to gain a new perspective on the Pope and his well-appointed and pointed hat. The tolerance shown by the Pope during his encounter shows just how transcendent the leader of a church needs to be in order to lead his flock by example. It took a comedy to realize that the ultimate straight man in the world would have to be the Pope.
"Die Papstin." The mythos of a female pope takes the stage as the life of the girl purported to have become the only woman pope is played out. With well-done tension that fills each scene, Joan must continually hide behind the mask of masculinity lest she be found out and put to death. By putting a female face on a paternalistic society gets to tackle the ideas of gender equality and the imbalance of power and education between males and females. And it does this with skill. Amongst the ever present fear of betraying herself to the men around her, Pope Joan allows the viewer to see the concept and station of the Pope in a new light while showcasing the injustice and narrow minded views of her time. Well acted, with an interesting story behind it this film does tend to go from sensible progressions to strange disjointed actions like her choice to become Pope rather than to flee with her past love, Gerold.