Starring Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Yorick van Wageningen.
Directed by Emilio Estevez.
Classification: PG (Mild themes, drug use and coarse language), 140 mins.
Official Site: http://www.theway-themovie.com/
When his son dies while hiking the famed Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in the Pyrenees, Tom flies to France to claim the remains. Looking for insights into his estranged child’s life, he decides to complete the 500-mile mountain trek to Spain. Tom soon joins up with other travelers and realizes they’re all searching for something.
New York Times
One thing you quickly realize when you sit down to watch THE WAY – Martin Sheen is a very compelling actor. Another thing you realize more slowly as the film goes along: His oldest son, Emilio Estevez, is a very sensitive director. Mr. Estevez is both writer and director of THE WAY, and also turns up in a small role, but he gives the spotlight to his father, who makes quite a lot out of a low-key story that could easily have degenerated into mush. Mr. Sheen plays an ophthalmologist named Tom, whose only son, Daniel (Mr. Estevez), dies in severe weather in the Pyrenees while trying to walk the “Way of St. James” (also known as the “Camino de Santiago”), a pilgrimage of hundreds of miles that ends in northwest Spain at a cathedral where the Apostle James is said to be buried. Tom goes to retrieve his son’s body and ends up walking the pilgrimage himself, scattering Daniel’s ashes along the way. Mr. Sheen gives a lovely performance as the no-nonsense doctor, and he gets wonderful support from actors playing fellow travellers he befriends - Tom: Yorick van Wageningen as a verbose Dutchman, Deborah Kara Unger as an acid-tongued woman trying to quit smoking, and James Nesbitt as an Irishman with writer’s block. This is not an “inspirational film” in the usual, syrupy sense; none of these people are overtly finding God on this trek. The beauty of the movie, in fact, is that Mr. Estevez does not make explicit what any of them find, beyond friendship. He lets these four fine actors convey that true personal transformations are not announced with fanfare, but happen internally. This is not a flashy film. It is, instead, a quietly powerful film packed with excellent acting, a memorable story and outstanding cinematography. We all have our journey to take. The difference is that these fellow travelers only become conscious of what their’s is after they choose to travel a hard and challenging road. This is a film that stays with you long after you view it.
New York Times
New York Times
The Way, written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father Martin Sheen in one of Sheen's best performances, depicts a spiritual journey. Words might scare off audiences out for cheap thrills. But open yourself up to this thoughtful, moving personal adventure and you’re in for a uniquely memorable experience. Sheen plays Tom Avery, a California ophthalmologist. Tom is also a widower long estranged from his only son, Daniel (Estevez), a wanderer Tom rejects for his lack of focus. When Tom learns that Daniel has died in a storm in the French Pyrenees, he leaves immediately to collect the body. Instead, he collects the truth about who his son was. Daniel had just started a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, an 800-mile trek from the Pyrenees to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the burial place of St. James. But as we learn, the journey can be motivated by reasons outside a search for God. Even as Tom stops along the way to spread the ashes of his son (played Estevez in flashbacks), he is stubborn non-believer. But the loner eventually hooks up with three other pilgrims, a Dutchman (a splendidly funny Yorick van Wageningen) trying to drop weight, an emotionally wounded Canadian woman (Deborah Kara Unger), and a Irish writer (James Nesbitt) who tries to draw Tom out and record the story of father and son. Estevez keeps his touch light, with a minimum of pedantry. The Way is really a gift from this son to his father. Sheen, gradually revealing a man painfully getting reacquainted with long buried feelings, who gives the film its bruised heart.
Rated M, 112 mins
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