Pope Joan (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Pope Joan (2009)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Johanna Wokalek, John Goodman, and David Wenham star in director Sönke Wortmann's adaptation of author Donna Woolfolk Cross' novel about a woman who dared to live like no other woman in history, and found herself at the center of a treacherous political conspiracy. The daughter of a 9th Century European priest, Johanna (Wokalek) defies dogmatic doctrine by learning to read and write. Later, after Johanna's secret gets out, she receives special permission to parochial school in Dorstadt. The only female in the school, she is placed in the care of Gerold (David Wenham), a brave knight with whom she falls deeply in love. But their romance is shattered when the Normans attack, prompting Johanna to assume the persona of a man and take flight to a Fulda monastery. Ordained in the practice of healing, Johanna later becomes the private doctor of Pope Sergius (Goodman) in Rome. Her fate takes an extraordinary turn, however, when Bishop Anastasius poisons Pope Sergius in an attempt to claim his title, and Johanna ascends to the throne instead. Though at first no one suspects that the new pope is in fact a female, Johanna's secret soon threatens to become known after she discovers that she is pregnant with Gerold's child. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Constantin Film Verleih


Critic Reviews for Pope Joan

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Audience Reviews for Pope Joan


'Pope Joan' is an interesting film about faith that is based on actual mythology but it often suffers from taking itself too seriously and often escaping its own reality. Some of the dialogue is simply clunky. Who calls their sister, "My sister?" Even if it was common in Old England, it still comes off as cheesy for film purposes. Pope Joan also suffers from its own premise. It is about a woman who grew up in poverty named Johanna. She defies the odds with her resilience and intellectual prowess but in order to rise in the world, she disguises herself as a man. Johanna eventually becomes Pope. My only misgiving is that she still clearly looks and sounds like a woman throughout all of this. This film pretty much insults the intelligence of people back in 9th Century Europe. This film redeems itself by being a pretty moving story of faith and for having good performances from a cast including Johanna Wokalek (who ironically plays Johanna), John Goodman, David Wenham, Iain Glen.

Ben Bartos
Ben Bartos

If Edith Piaf lived as a man in the 13th century, and cross dressed to be in a monastery, add a few songs, then she'd be Pope Joan...wait a minute, thats a great idea for a new Mel Brooks comedy. Pope Joan: The Musical

Anthony Durante
Anthony Durante

Intelligent and entertaining mix of history and legend. All around well cast, and Wokalek is a winner. Too abrupt: could have been even more.

Claudio D'Amato
Claudio D'Amato

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