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We Have a Pope (2012)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 5

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 5,488

My Rating

Movie Info

Nanni Moretti joins forces with the great French actor Michel Piccoli to tell the story of Melville, a cardinal who suddenly finds himself elected as the next Pope. Never the front runner and completely caught off guard, he panics as he's presented to the faithful in St. Peter's Square. To prevent a world wide crisis, the Vatican's spokesman calls in an unlikely psychiatrist who is neither religious or all that committed, played by Moretti, to find out what is wrong with the new Pope. As the


Drama, Comedy

Nanni Moretti, Francesco Piccolo

Sep 11, 2012


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All Critics (76) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (28) | DVD (1)

Always the star of his movies, even when he shouldn't be, the atheist Moretti gets caught up in his own papal bull. But Piccoli's blessed empathy prevails.

May 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is rich material that Moretti mines for both superficial absurdity and deep pathos. But he refuses to forge an orthodox happy ending, let alone a tinny satire.

May 11, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We Have a Pope takes its shots at the institution of the Catholic Church, but this is by no means a scathing satire. It's more of a character study, insightful and nuanced, about a man grappling with a profound sense of inadequacy, questioning himself.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though skeptical, the film isn't at all mean-spirited.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"We Have a Pope" is a nuanced, moving and profoundly humane exploration of doubt, faith, weakness and resolve.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"We Have a Pope" has great heart.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While We Have a Pope contains an interesting idea for a film, it ultimately fails to portray the struggle Cardinal Melville is going through, which is the centerpiece of the entire film.

January 16, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

This is certainly a great idea for a film, it just needs better execution, less stalling for and wasting of time, and a better means of showing the difficult period that Cardinal Melville is going through.

September 16, 2012 Full Review Source:

To its great credit, just before the credits, We Have A Pope slips away from its droll dramedy and offers a sharp anticlimax--a pointed stab at Catholicism now. The declaration of its title turns out to be the emptiest statement of all.

July 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

While Moretti is as secular as the character he plays in the film, he gives us a papal portrait that's nuanced and counterintuitive; we're used to the humanity of popes evinced as Borgian lust and avarice, not as self-doubt and humility.

May 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Vatican-based comedy could have been sharper

May 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

The premise is truly inspired, the settings are handsome, and the 86-year-old Piccoli is superb in the role of a reluctant Vicar of Christ, his doubts and hopes and fears playing across his face like clouds.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Are we more fascinated by a peek inside the Vatican walls or by this portrait of a humble man who would rather watch a Chekhov play than pontificate?

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

It isn't quite a religious experience, but it is a sweet one. In other words: We have a charmer.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune

Like the bulk of the story, the movie itself just seems to be marking time, waiting for someone to take charge.

April 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

It's an amusing feature but also emotionally resonant and expertly performed.

April 19, 2012 Full Review Source:

Big chunks of the film are devoted to the idea that it's hilarious to watch guys in fancy costumes bicker and play volleyball, but that sort of thing is amusing for about a minute.

April 19, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | Comment (1)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Although We Have a Pope is a heady concoction, it may not have mass appeal. It is blessed with a memorable performance by Michel Piccoli as the bewildered, overwhelmed cleric. But Nanni Moretti's direction at times seems as random as Melville's journey.

April 16, 2012 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for We Have a Pope

Even with Piccoli in a strong performance, this drama doesn't live up to the promise of its premise. While the first half is efficient and has a good pace, the second part is disjointed, dragging with no direction and going nowhere. Besides, Moretti's character seems completely useless here.
January 26, 2012

Super Reviewer

What a wonderful film. Shame that it didn't get more recognition in Cannes. Cloaked in humor, this is nonetheless a serious look at a religious leader's internal quest for personal truth. The humility shown is precisely what the Church needs, but... it's merely a film... Michel Piccolli at his very best!
October 29, 2011
Debbie Elbin

Super Reviewer

As the Papal Conclave wears on, it appears that there is no clear frontrunner which might have something to do with nobody really wanting the promotion. Eventually, the name of Cardinal Melville(Michel Piccoli) takes precedence and wins out. At the worst possible moment right before being introduced to the faithful, he has an anxiety attack. After a time of waiting for him to recover his senses, the cardinals get restless, with the Austrlian contingent wanting to go over the wall to do a little sightseeing. So, while the powers that be read them the rule book, they also bend them a little to bring in a famed psychologist(Nanni Moretti, who also directed and co-wrote).

First off, a disclaimer. "We Have a Pope" really has no problems with the Catholic Church or anybody associated with it. Yes, there is a little white lying and conniving but absolutely no global conspiracies, so hopefully nobody's going to hell.(Still, what the Church would do with the ending and the volleyball tournament is beyond me.) Rather, with amiable good humor, Nanni Moretti shrugs as he wonders what all the fuss is about.(To quote him, he is always harder on himself in his films than others.) More is the shame considering the awful pressure the cardinals are under with such lofty expectations. And don't forget; one should always be vigilant towards those seeking power.
April 18, 2012
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A promising beginning turns into a bit of a mess. This is a film that does not know whether to take itself seriously or as a pure comedy and leads to a very very empty ending. Sound and Fury signifying nothing.
April 15, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

    1. Cardinal Melville: I have a parental deficit. But I don't know what it is.
    – Submitted by Resty Dennis G (15 months ago)
    1. Female Psychotherapist: What do you do?
    2. Cardinal Melville: I'm an actor.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Cardinal Melville: I can't do this.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Habemus Papam - Ein Papst büxt aus! (DE)
  • We Have a Pope (Habemus Papam) (UK)
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