“Pope Francis: A Man of His Word” wasn’t the documentary I expected from Wim Wenders. The legendary Wenders wants you to praise Pope Francis for being one of the least problematic Catholics in Rome. The film is shot like an electronic press kit for a guy that does less interviews than Daniel Tosh. Think about it. How many Popes have agreed to a 1-on-1 documentary before now? Surely, cool Pope Francis will make this one for the history books.

I consider a documentary a failure if it doesn’t push its living subject into open debate. Too much of the film feels like the Vatican or Francis himself is dictating what can be used and when he will speak. This is a Pope who has publicly gone on record as saying Gay & Trans People are a methodical attack on the family unit. Yet, the film asks him to pontificate on what it means to be a Pope in the modern world. Before that question answers, it’s the live remotes to Rio and the US Congress.

When the film gets Pope Francis into an Errol Morris style confessional, it’s only topics that he wants to address. You’ll get lip service about his global tours and the fight against the culture of waste. The Catholic Sex Abuse Scandals get a mention only in the historical sense. Umm, guys…the international impact is still ongoing. Deaf kids in Ireland aren’t as attention grabbing as every Catholic Priest in Boston playing grab-ass, but it’s still something to be addressed.

The Catholic Church has gotten in front of the film’s release and made it clear that production was independently funded. But, they also claim that they gave approval for the film to happen. If you told me that Wim Wenders got locked out of the editing bay and a Cardinal went to town on the film, I’d believe it. Hell, I never thought I’d live to say it. This is the first completely compromised Wim Wenders film. What a disappointment.


  • 1 hr and 36 mins
  • Not Rated
  • Focus Features


  • 75%
    Film Score - 75%

The Plot Thus Far

Pope Francis travels the world speaking to those in need and delivering a message of hope.

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