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We Have a Pope (2012)


Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 73
Fresh: 45
Rotten: 28

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 28
Fresh: 22
Rotten: 6

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 5,510




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 … More

Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Nanni Moretti , Francesco Piccolo
In Theaters:
Sep 11, 2012
Box Office:
IFC Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for We Have a Pope

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (28) | 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.

Full Review… | May 31, 2012
Toronto Star
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 11, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 3, 2012
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 27, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 27, 2012
Washington Post
Top Critic

"We Have a Pope" has great heart.

Full Review… | April 26, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 16, 2013
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.

Full Review… | September 16, 2012

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.

Full Review… | July 24, 2012
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.

Full Review… | May 28, 2012
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Vatican-based comedy could have been sharper

Full Review… | May 24, 2012
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.

Full Review… | May 3, 2012

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?

Full Review… | May 3, 2012
East Bay Express

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

Full Review… | April 27, 2012

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

Full Review… | April 20, 2012
Combustible Celluloid

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

Full Review… | April 19, 2012

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.

Full Review… | April 19, 2012
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.

Full Review… | April 16, 2012

Audience Reviews for We Have a Pope

A wonderfully wry but intelligent satire that asks very valid questions. This is not the cheap 'Pope sees Therapist comedy' that it may appear to be, that synopsis is just there to lure the people in (or was put there by people who have not seen or understand the film). What it is is a very clever analysis on the role of a Pope and questions whether any man can really claim to be 'God's right hand man on Earth'. The structure of the Church and the secrecy of the Vatican are also explored but director/writer/actor Nanni Morett never once pokes fun or insults the Catholic Church. Instead he leads us through a slightly absurd world putting the Vatican into perspective and reveals (for me at least) that all men are equal and so are their contradictions.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


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.

Carlos Magalh„es

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!

Debbie Elbin
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.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

We Have a Pope Quotes

Cardinal Melville:
I have a parental deficit. But I don't know what it is.
– Submitted by Resty Dennis G (21 months ago)
Female Psychotherapist:
What do you do?
Cardinal Melville:
I'm an actor.
– Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
Cardinal Melville:
I can't do this.
– Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)

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