Pope Joan

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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


Critic Reviews for Pope Joan

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Audience Reviews for Pope Joan

  • Aug 06, 2011
    Christianity overall, and in all it's manipulative power over the ages, has more than surely hidden so much under the rug, secrets that eventually all faced/will face the public. The first woman pope and as i know the only woman pope ever to have ruled from Rome. In those times women were looked down upon, spat on, treated like slaves, like man's boot heal, as a woman it would've been impossible to succeed so quick, well one did, as a man. Manuscripts have been found, bits and pieces here and there that depict some truth. This film portrays Johanna Wokalek as the pope pretending to be a man but eventually a not so anticipated twist mixed with some love turns the tides dramatically. <a href="http://s278.photobucket.com/albums/kk89/ovinemesis300/?action=view¤t=images-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk89/ovinemesis300/images-1.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> young Johanna <a href="http://s278.photobucket.com/albums/kk89/ovinemesis300/?action=view¤t=pope-joan-688128l-imagine.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk89/ovinemesis300/pope-joan-688128l-imagine.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> Pope Johanna This film has incredible bits of history, mixed with a drop of fiction. It has a veritable medieval feel to it, everything feels so old and realistically rendered to a point you can easily fall into this very nicely performed and written storyline, adapted by a novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross, whom in her turn inspired her story by various legends and/or facts. Problem with legends is, they tend to change over the years. An outstanding performance by Johanna Wokalek (a not so known actress) and David Wenham that has always had huge potential and he clearly proves it here, with John Goodman as the fat pope and quite a few more known faces, but an overall great acting. On normal occasions, i get bored by this particular genre, not the case with Pope Joan, a simply great enjoyable dramatic bread crumb of history. Enjoy! Peace 'n <3
    Ovi G Super Reviewer
  • Apr 30, 2011
    When it comes to stories of the Medieval, I must admit I am limited in knowledge.So if this was real or a legend, I really don't know.Pope Joan was the story of Johanna, who grew up in Germany in the year 800 something AC, in an unfair condition for all women during that time. The movie portrayed her personality and as a legend of a woman posed as a man to enter the monastery and become Pope.German actress Johanna Wokalek was pretty good for that role and the other performances were decent as well.The portrayal of the time, crowds and the cities was below average, but very effective, since it was a low-budget movie, the image and lighting quality was not always good.The weak point of the movie was in the rhythm, which at times was uneven, and went from fast to very slow, but still it was never boring because of the strong plot. Pope Joan was a decent good historical movie and what it lacked in the visual arts, made up in strength of plot and screenplay.
    Daisy M Super Reviewer

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