Tom Shales reviews two upcoming TV flicks on the life of Pope John Paul the Great, and the reviews are well worth reading. The CBS biopic sounds like a real winner – I’m looking forward to it, particularly because the writers and director seem to have gotten the key message of John Paul’s priesthood and pontificate, not only was he all about exhorting us to courage (“Do not be afraid!”) but he was all about reminding us of who we – all of us are – beloved children of the Creator:
While ABC’s film depicts the Nazis as an inconvenience, “Pope John Paul II” makes palpable the panic gripping the Poles as the Nazis approach and then occupy their country. Wojtyla is sitting in a Krakow classroom in 1939 when soldiers burst in, rip a cross off the wall and drag away the teacher. His last words to his students as he is carried off: “Do not forget who you are!” This has tremendous resonance throughout the film, especially when, as pope, Wojtyla returns to his native land and lends support to the Solidarity movement and leader Lech Walesa.