Release Date: 2011, now on DVD

Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Comedy

Rating: PG-13 (thematic elements, drug use, and smoking)

IMHO: I give this film a thumbs up

The Way was written & directed by Emilio Estevez, featuring Martin Sheen (Tom Avery), Emilio Estevez (Daniel Avery), Yorick van Wageninge (Joost), Deborah Kara Unger (Sarah), James Nesbitt (Jack), Tcheky Karyo (Captain Henry). It is breathtaking, not just for the wonderful scenery, but also for exploring the depths of human souls, all the while maintaining a great sense of humor.

What is the story?

Tom is an American who gets news that his son has died in a storm while just starting a long pilgrimage, The Camino de Santiago, or The Way of St. James, which traverses the Pyrenees Mountains from France and across Spain, about an 800 km (500 miles) journey that would take a walker 6 to 8 weeks. Originally, Tom goes to retrieve his son’s remains, but then he gets caught up in it, trying to understand and recapture his son, and he ends up finishing the trek himself.

Along the way, he bonds with other pilgrims and everyone’s story unfolds, their reason for being there, their self-discovery. The little group stops each day at a refuge, an inn along the way, and we get to savor the local area, its people, and different food specialties.

At various places, the pilgrim gets a “credencial” stamped, something of a passport showing that the pilgrim did this, and at the end, at the Cathedral de Santiago, upon presenting the stamped credential, a certificate is issued. Tom changes his name to his son’s, as though he finished it for him, although he certainly benefited from it himself.

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Bottom Line

Martin Sheen is fantastic, maybe his best performance ever. With Estevez, the father-son relationship comes to life, we see and understand it readily. All the actors are superb. As I said, the scenery is beautiful, and if you can’t travel there yourself, it’s the next best thing to experience the people and the foods.

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