Rotten Tomatoes
Cancel Movies Tv shows Shop News Showtimes

Pope Joan

2009 2h 29m History Drama Romance List
Reviews 64% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
In the 9th century, a woman disguises herself as a man and rises through the ranks of the Vatican. Read More Read Less

Audience Reviews

View All (103) audience reviews
Tony S This story is just someone yelling, "Screw the Church." and "Patriarchy can't keep me down." A cartoonish level of characterization of everyone, melodramatic, generally mediocre acting. Awful dialogue filled with empty new age platitudes that 9th century Christians would never say. An offensive and harrowing romance where a guy lusts for his stepdaughter for who knows how many years. But I guess because it was written by a woman, it's fine. In this maddening portrayal of Rome, you can practically guess what North African country they filmed it in to make it look like Alexandria. I guess to remind you that Agora wasn't as bad. Revision of history for the sake of talking down to you in the most condescending way possible. I am not even going to get into the fact that it's historical fiction about a fictional person. It's a given. What I can't accept is how the movie insists on grabbing actual historical characters and dragging them down with Joan to fit this unworthy story. Like Sergius II. Or better yet, rob another Pope (Leo IV) of his accomplishments and just give them to Joan. It's all a conspiracy after all. Where was the Arab raid that happened around the time that the movie takes place? Pass? Indeed. Are you Islamophobic or something? We can show that. Let's heal the poor and sick and pretend that nuns don't exist. It is garbage. The only things I can remotely praise are the costumes and the relatively large budget. Everything else is just the worst aspects of the Kingsbridge series summarized in two hours. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 07/12/22 Full Review Audience Member Bio pic of a former Victorian premier? The insufferable narration - well, it insuffered me Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 02/23/23 Full Review Audience Member I enjoyed this 'rags to riches' true story - albeit with some artistic licence. I thought Tigerlily Hutchinson as the young Pope Joan was particularly good - perhaps she has found her calling (as an actor if not a Pope) Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Audience Member Entertaining enough. The first hour of the film is really good as it portrays a real and honest struggle of a girls life getting to grips with family dynamics and her fathers radical believes. It loses some of it's punch and class towards the end. I almost got the feeling that the entire crew lost interest in the project. The second half of the film is flimsy and poorly executed. I was not sure of I should've interpreted it as a satire, drama or biography. I feel the screenwriter was struggling to find vision and meaning to end this film properly. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/14/23 Full Review Audience Member Melodramatic with a smell of cheesiness. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member '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. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/17/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Pope Joan

My Rating


Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis In the 9th century, a woman disguises herself as a man and rises through the ranks of the Vatican.
Sönke Wortmann
Oliver Berben, Martin Moszkowicz
Heinrich Hadding, Sönke Wortmann
Production Co
Constantin Film, Medusa Film, Ufa Cinema
History, Drama, Romance
Original Language
2h 29m