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Stories of a Generation with Pope Francis review: 18 heart-warming stories that will strike a chord

The Pope hosts a four-part special based on his award-winning book, Sharing the Wisdom of Time.

  • Prathibha Joy

  • OTTplay

Last Updated: 05.03 PM, Dec 27, 2021

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Pope Francis in the four-part series

Story: A 70-year-old African American descendant of slaves who brought in desegregation in schools, a nonagenarian grandmother in search of her lost grandson, and 16 other inspiring stories form this special.

Review: Who would’ve thought there’d come a day when a Netflix series is hosted by His Holiness, the Pope? Well, that day has indeed come, with the Pope chipping in as narrator of the four-part Netflix series, Stories of a Generation with Pope Francis. The documentary series, based on the Pope’s award-winning book, Sharing the Wisdom of Time, is divided into four segments, Love, Dreams, Struggle and Work, each 45-minutes long.

The series has filmmakers under 30 capturing inspiring 18 stories of people over 70, including filmmaker Martin Scorcese, Jane Goodall and Dave Lowe, among many others, meant for the younger generation to help them understand each other better. For instance, Academy Award winner Martin Scorcese is captured by the youngest of his three daughters, Francesca, as he describes how different parenthood was for him in his 20s, 30s and late 50s. Scorcese admits to having prioritised work over family in his early years, which was not the case when he met his current wife Helen Morris and then had Francesca.

Interestingly enough, it’s not the stories of the celebrity cast that stand out. Like, for instance, nonagenarian Estela Barnes de Carlotto, whose student activist daughter Laura was killed by Argentinian pro-fascism supporters shortly after she had a son, who was promptly taken away. Decades ago, Estela began a group, Grandmothers Of the Plaza Mayo, a human rights organization with the goal to find lost children like her grandson, during the Argentine Military dictatorship. There’s Vito Forino, who went for a sail in 2013 and ended up rescuing 47 people from a sinking refugee ship, an 88-year-old skydiver and 77-year-old surfer, and so much more.

While each of the stories are beautiful and inspiring, Pope Francis’ own thoughts about the subjects, be it love, wherein he describes his relationship with his grandmother, Rosa, or dreams, in which he admits to thinking of himself as a poet and being influenced by Russian composer Sergej Sergeevic Prokof’ev, or that he likes the tango, etc., gives his audience an intimate look at the man that he is. He has, perhaps, been the most successful at humanizing the position he holds and cements that yet again with this series. The bonus is that we are also treated to breathtakingly beautiful aerial view shots of Vatican City occasionally.

Verdict: Don’t be fooled by the title. Just because Pope Francis is involved does not mean that there’s a Christian missionary agenda at play. This is a non-controversial show with stories that have valuable lessons, told from life experiences of 18 very special people. Give this one a watch!

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