One year after his election to the papacy, Pope Leo XIV (Tom Conti) fears that his title's trappings have led him away from the real troubles of the people. Leo's feeling of helplessness is further fueled when he meets Isabella (Marta Zoffoli), a young deaf girl who has hitchhiked to the
Vatican, hoping Leo would provide her village with a priest. After discussing his troubles with Cardinal Stefano Biondi (Fernando Rey), Leo dons everyday clothing and goes to work in the Vatican garden. When he is accidentally locked out, he decides to go to Isabella's poverty-stricken village and
deal with the people's troubles firsthand. This amiable story works well, thanks largely to the collective talents of its cast. Conti, while a bit young for the part, gives a personable edge to his character that is warm and appealing. Robert M. Young's direction is low key, emphasizing the
story's humanist values rather than the religious aspects. By doing this, Young creates a story of more universal appeal, a small but well-told parable that is perfect for family viewing.
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