Pope Francis — A Man of His Word

It was Sunday. I didn’t go to church because…I’m not religious. My church is the sermons at the cinema I get to hear from various actors on the big screen. So I went to the Angelika Film Center (that almost has the word “angels” in it), and saw the documentary on Pope Francis. I didn’t want to miss this, as I like a lot of what Pope Francis has to say, and it was done by Oscar-nominated German director Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club).

It was interesting that we got an up-close look at the Pope, but I wanted to know more about him. Instead, it was softball questions that came off like a PR piece. I’m sure that was part of the deal in getting access to the Pope, though.

It was intriguing to see a clip of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentine Jesuit who took the name of Francis after Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement five years ago. I would’ve preferred a lot more of those moments, letting us know what he was like in years past.

The recreations of St. Francis of Assisi were interesting (and reminded me a bit of Wenders “The Soul of a Man”), but also odd and a bit out of place.

It’s interesting that this Pope has devoted himself, a lot more than previous Popes, to visiting the downtrodden. We see clips of him visiting prisons and hurricane survivors — washing and kissing feet. And listening to him talk directly to the camera, whether it was about how you should play with your kids, or the harm done to children by pedophile priests, was solid stuff. It made me wish he would’ve delved a bit more into some other controversial topics.

There were a few power scenes. Watching as the Pope is at the River Jordan, or seeing him genuinely smile as he looks at pictures kids have colored and painted for him.

This is a very passionate man, and as you watch as he visits hospitals, or tells a story of a phone call to a boy that had cancer — you’ll have tears rolling down your face.

There’s an intriguing scene with the Pope at a concentration camp and talking to a few survivors.

The film is engrossing at times, but boring at others (especially the first half).

You’ll see various religious leaders and heads of state. You see President Obama smiling, and President Trump frowning. But perhaps my favorite person that I spotted sitting behind the Pope, was comedian Jim Gaffigan.

This could have been a better documentary, but Catholics and Christians should be entertained.

2 ½ stars out of 5.