We Have a Pope ★★½

This starts charmingly as a gentle, middlebrow sendup of the Papal selection process, but it indisputably runs off the rails by its midpoint. Moretti, something of a footnote in his own film, plays a psychiatrist tasked with assessing the mental state of the reluctant new Pope (Michel Piccoli). Unfortunately, the Pope quickly flees the Vatican, and the film becomes as unmoored as its subject. Endless scenes involving a volleyball game between the Cardinals and the new Pope’s obsession with Chekov miss their satiric marks entirely, making what was a novel comedy turn into drudgery. Potent in a few moments (e.g. the Pope’s confession, “I’m an actor” hits with blunt force), but far too diffuse to sustain any comedy. I suppose Moretti is attempting to critique the Catholic Church’s disconnect from the real world, by focusing on a process that shows its leaders in a state of self-imposed exile, but any coherent theme is lost among the digressions.