I’d recommend The Way to anyone who is seeking answers, enlightenment, understanding, and isn’t afraid to take a look at the tough questions in life: What am I moving towards? What am I running from? And why?
I expected the movie to be about major religious conversion, but it’s not. Actually, the movie only loosely touches on the religious and spiritual implications of the Camino and the many Christ-centered pilgrims who set out to make the trek each year. In a sense this makes the film more accessible to the masses (pun intended) instead of a good fit mainly for the Catholic parishioners in the pews.
The Way is a thought-provoking, humorous look at how a physical journey is every bit as much about a journey inward as it is about reaching a particular destination. Having read the book Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles with Jesus by Dave Pivonka, T.O.R., a while back, I was somewhat familiar with the ancient pilgrimage trail when I heard about this film.
What I didn’t realize ahead of time is that this movie is a family affair. Not to say it’s the right choice for a family movie night if you have children under thirteen, it’s not, but the rich heritage, tradition, and strong family bonds explored in the film seem best acted by those who really do have a father/son relationship. The Way is directed by Emilio Estevez, dedicated to his grandfather, and stars as the lead Martin Sheen, the director’s own father (who was named at birth Ramon Gerard Estevez).
The film was shot in France and Spain, where the el Camino exists and still attracts millions of pilgrims. The cinematography is quite beautiful which is immediately evident to the viewer even if the main character in the film neglects to take notice of or slow down to appreciate it.
Four very different people from different countries, professions, and with widely varying reasons for hiking the Camino end up bonding as they each strive to overcome the challenges of the trail, which often prove to be more obvious and less treacherous than the emotional minefields within themselves.
The special features and behind-the-scenes definitely enhanced my appreciation for the movie and the collaborative effort in making it as well as going cross-country on a bus tour to promote it.I wrote this review of The Way for the free Catholic book review program, Tiber River. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.