Martin Sheen, James Nesbitt, Deborah Kara Unger, Yorick van Wageningen, Emilio Estevez. Written & directed by Emilio Estevez.
FILM SYNOPSIS: Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son, killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of St. James. Driven by his profound sadness and desire to understand his son better, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage, leaving his "California bubble life" behind. While walking The Camino, Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, all broken and looking for greater meaning in their lives: a Dutchman, a Canadian, and an Irish writer who is suffering from a bout of "writer's block." From the hardship experienced along "The Way" this unlikely quartet create an everlasting bond and Tom begins to learn what it means to be a citizen of the world again discovering the difference between "The life we live and the life we choose." "The Way" was filmed entirely in Spain and France along the actual Camino de Santiago.
PREVIEW REVIEW: Though this metaphoric pilgrimage is done from a Catholic perspective (Estevez and Sheen are practicing Catholics), I think anyone, no matter their denominational leanings, will enjoy this pristine picture postcard of Europe and the moving storyline as we see the lead characters coming together and moving toward spiritual healings.
Of course, read the content below before deciding to attend, but I was impressed with Emilio Estevez’s vigilant direction, the insightful and humorous dialogue, and the compelling relationships. It’s a movie I’d watch again. And I don’t say that often.
More About THE WAYBy Phil Boatwright
The newly released film The Way concerns a grieving father whose son died just before he was to take an epic trek known as the Camino de Santiago. A five-hundred mile walking tour through France and Spain that began attracting travelers over a thousand years ago, the hike has been made by millions from around the world for every conceivable reason, from sheer adventure to searching for spiritual answers. And that’s the determination for the film’s main character, Tom, played by Martin Sheen (The West Wing, Apocalypse Now). Though elderly and out of shape, Tom takes on the mountainous journey, seeking to connect spiritually with his deceased son. Along the way he meets up with several other world-weary travelers also seeking solace.
From the press notes:
As Tom makes his way through incidents both frightening and funny – from raging rapids to Gypsy encounters -- he can’t seem to help opening up to the breathtaking landscape, to his unavoidable companions and the new possibilities that now surround him at every turn.
Though this metaphoric pilgrimage is done from a Catholic perspective (its writer/director, Emilio Estevez, and his father, actor Martin Sheen, are both practicing Catholics), I think anyone, no matter their denominational leanings, will enjoy this pristine picture postcard of Europe and the inspiring storyline as the lead characters move toward spiritual healings.
“You don’t choose a life, you live it.”
That’s a line from the script and it sets the tone and the stage for a humorous and often touching film drama.
THE WAY is the story of an unexpected gift a son hands off to his father, a gift that emerges out of the blue from the twists and turns of an impulsive but illuminating journey.
Similarly, the film’s production was marked by a close and deep father-and-son collaboration. In the process, they had a chance to explore not only the awe-inspiring land of their ancestors, but their shared fascination with the power of laughter, forgiveness and even vexing relationships to make the most arduous path feel meaningful.
“You can start alone, but you never end alone.”
“Emilio found a way to make Tom’s journey equally a physical adventure and an inner quest,” sums up Sheen. “Tom begins to understand that our whole lives are pilgrimages. He begins to understand that even though we all have to walk our own path alone, you still need others. He begins to understand that he is part of a community, that he has a responsibility to it, and that there is a possibility of great joy and satisfaction in our lives. The beauty of the script is that it gets to all that without ever hitting you over the head with anything.”
Of course, I suggest you read the content below before deciding to attend, but this movie reporter was impressed with Emilio Estevez’s vigilant direction, the insightful and humorous dialogue, and the compelling relationships. It’s a movie I’d watch again. And I don’t say that often.
Now playing in theaters, The Way is rated PG-13: (a few minor expletives such as “damn and hell;” two misuses of Christ’s name; we learn of a death, but do not see it; a woman slaps a man, but is quickly apologetic; there is a great deal of social drinking; on occasion some of the characters get drunk; one of the characters uses drugs and offers them to others; we see a man smoking pot – though played for laughs, I didn’t get the feeling the film was promoting drug use; that said, no one ever explains the downside of narcotic use; if you view this film with teens, a discussion afterward about the subject would be in order). Running Time: 121 min. Intended Audience: Teens and up