A man about to be elevated into a position of great responsibility and power has a serious case of cold feet in this comedy-drama from director and actor Nanni Moretti. The College of Cardinals has assembled at the Vatican with the important task of electing a new Pope to lead the Catholic Church. After much debate and a number of ballots that reach no consensus, an obscure but respected man, Cardinal Melville (Michel Piccoli), is chosen by the College to become the new pontiff. However, Melville is a humble man, and when he's told he's been elected to the highest office in the church, he flies into a panic and says he doesn't want to be Pope. Unfortunately, the cardinals have already announced that they've chosen a new Pontiff, so they bring in a psychiatrist (Nanni Moretti) to talk to Melville in hopes of determining if he's just suffering from a case of the jitters or if he has a more serious problem. After some initial interviews, the analyst wants a second opinion and asks his ex-wife (Margherita Buy), also a psychiatrist, to talk to Melville, but after spending some time at her home, the cardinal runs away and begins exploring Rome incognito, talking to ordinary people and pondering his unusual circumstances. Habemus Papam (aka We Have a Pope) received its North American premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
by Mark Deming synopsis