The Pope says “nope,” or at least “wait a sec,” in Nanni Moretti’s new comedy, starring Michel Piccoli as a newly elected pontiff who gets cold feet. Because strict Vatican rules demand that his identity remain secret until the public proclamation, doubt-ridden Cardinal Melville (Piccoli) is confined to the Vatican’s inner sanctum. Enter Moretti as a psychoanalyst tasked with coaxing the Catholic-in-Chief back into action, in the actor-filmmaker’s latest look at inadequacy, narcissism, and the quandary of daily existence.
“Not so much a movie about the Catholic Church as it is a comedy about depression, specifically the inability to come to terms with society’s expectations: being called upon to fulfill a certain role but feeling only emptiness inside.”
—Macro Grosoli, Film Comment, July/August 2011