The Way profoundly connects father and son, both in the story and on screen. Written, produced and directed by Emilio Estevez. The film conveniently stars Martin Sheen, his real-life father, playing his father on screen. You could well think this whole thing was dreamed up so that they could do this pilgrimage themselves. But you know what, so what if they did because it really works.
People have been walking the Camino de Santiago trail for well over a thousand years. The trail starts in France and stretches for close to eight hundred kilometers. This spiritual journey ends at the site of the remains of St James, an apostle of Jesus. Today there are hundreds of thousands of people who walk the path or parts of, to seek something new in their lives.
The Camino Way attracts all kinds of different people, all taking the pilgrimage for different reasons. It is clear that Estevez wanted to reflect this in his story. Tom the father is walking the path, to scatter his son's ashes along the way. By stepping in his son's footsteps, he seeks to find a connection with him, whilst finding himself too. Tom reluctantly ends up with three walking companions. Each has their own reasons to walk the way, providing a wonderfully blended mix of characters.
Holding the film together is Martin Sheen, with a brilliant performance. He gives an understated performance that is totally convincing and honest. The scenes between Sheen and Estevez are brilliant and powerful. I would even go to say that this is one of Sheens finest performances ever. Deborah Kara Unger plays a deeply complicated character. James Nesbitt plays the annoying one in the group, very well indeed. But the real lovable character is Joost, brilliantly played by Yorick van Wageningen.
Generally, the film is quite predictable but this is exactly why it works. It never attempts to be anything more than it is. Yes, it is a journey about life, with lots of life lessons along the way, you get this early on in the story. However, this old fashioned style really works in this film. It never gets over sentimental and the characters all provide measured reflections for the challenges within each of us.
The Way does something magical that more films should. I cried, I laughed and when the film finished I felt inspired and good about the world. Not only are the characters beautiful in this story, but the scenery is incredible. The only downside to this movie is that straight after watching it, you want to go walk the Way yourself. Watch The Way on Amazon Prime and get inspired for your next adventure.