Review of "The Young Pope" on HBO From The TV MegaSite

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The Young Pope 

Review of "The Young Pope" 2/3/17
Airs Sundays and Mondays at 9pm on HBO

The basic idea of this show is that this fictional pope, Pius XIII (Jude Law), is a gangster. He acts tough and throws his weight around, and the story is a lot like most gangster movies you've seen (albeit with less murder).  It's a very well done story, though. This young American pope, Lenny, who might not believe in God, becomes pope due to a series of political things that happen. He's chosen because they think he will be a useful puppet, but they've underestimated him.

We learn in the first episode that Lenny arrives at the convent at a young age; his mother (Diane Keaton) had given him up and become a nun, so she brings him into her convent.  Then after he becomes pope, he brings his mother into the Vatican with him as his right hand. The way he acts and the changes he makes, really upsets the cardinals. The pope uses the confessional to his own advantage, just to give you an idea as to what he's like.

The story starts out pretty slow, but it gets much better. The mystery of this pope and what he does is shown to us a little bit at a time, like the layers of an onion being peeled back.   It's a riveting drama, and you won't be sorry you watched it (unless you're Catholic, then maybe it will offend you).


From Paolo Sorrentino, director of the Academy AwardŽ-winning film 'The Great Beauty,' 'The Young Pope' tells the controversial story of the beginning of Pius XIII's pontificate. Born Lenny Belardo, he is a complex and conflicted character, so conservative in his choices as to border on obscurantism, yet full of compassion towards the weak and poor. The first American pope, Pius XIII is a man of great power who is stubbornly resistant to the Vatican courtiers, unconcerned with the implications to his authority.

The ten-episode series stars two-time Academy AwardŽ nominee Jude Law as Pius XIII, and Academy AwardŽ winner Diane Keaton as Sister Mary, a nun from the U.S. now living in Vatican City.

Sorrentino, who also directed of the upcoming 'Youth,' says the series is about "the clear signs of God's existence. The clear signs of God's absence. How faith can be searched for and lost. The greatness of holiness, so great as to be unbearable when you are fighting temptations and when all you can do is to yield to them. The inner struggle between the huge responsibility of the Head of the Catholic Church and the miseries of the simple man that fate (or the Holy Spirit) chose as Pontiff. Finally, how to handle and manipulate power in a state whose dogma and moral imperative is the renunciation of power and selfless love towards one's neighbor."

The series is produced by Wildside, and co-produced by Haut et Court TV and Mediapro. Executive producers for Wildside are Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani together with John Lyons. Executive producers for Haut et Court TV are Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta and Simon Arnal. 'The Young Pope' is a co-production of HBO and Sky.

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