My friends and I recently watched the film, The Way. Martin Sheen plays a California ophthalmologist named Tom, who receives a phone call telling him his adult son has died in an accident on his first day as a pilgrim walking the El Camino de Santiago.
Tom flies to France to claim the body of his son, from whom he was estranged, and decides on the spot to complete his son's journey, walking the Camino all the way to Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. As he walks, Tom meets other people who are making the same pilgrimage, although for different reasons.
Tom wants to really know his late son, and thus himself. Joost from Amsterdam needs to learn self-acceptance. Sarah from Canada is seeking forgiveness. Jack from Ireland is searching for his authentic writer's voice. Along the way the pilgrims argue, annoy, inspire, support, and begin to understand each other, forming an unexpected bond.
Martin Sheen's real-life son Emilio Estevez directed The Way, and appears throughout in flashbacks as Daniel, Tom's late son. Estevez also wrote the screenplay which was inspired by the nonfiction book, Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim's Route into Spain by Jack Hitt.
There are many routes, or Ways of St. James, all culminating at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Pilgrims have been traveling these routes since the Middle Ages. Tom begins his walk in France.
Beautifully filmed on location in France and Spain, this film is spiritual and inspiring.
Dizzie: Hey Boss, I just read that there's a Portuguese Way! I think I would make a good pilgrim. I'd love to hike through Portugal carrying my supplies on my back, soaking up the local atmosphere, and finishing with a swim in the ocean! It would be an awesome chance to explore my homeland.
Lilly Faye: You were born in Maryland, Diz.
Dizzie: I'm just sayin', I feel my Portuguese roots calling to me.
Alfie Cat: Don't discourage him. I'd enjoy a few months without Lead Butt sitting on my face every night.
Dizzie: I only arse him to keep him from scratching my nose with his sharp claws. My nose is very sensitive.
Busty Cat: My favorite part of movie night this week was the chicken dinner.
Lilly Faye: That was my chicken you were eating.
Busty Cat: And it was delicious. Especially the crispy skin.
Lilly Faye: I fear we are getting away from the matter at hand.
If you like character-driven stories and a gorgeous atmosphere, this movie is for you.
If you're interested in a spiritual pilgrimage but can't travel yourself, you can gain a lot from watching this movie.
There are many paths to self-discovery, be they physical journeys or spiritual quests.
You could even start a blog and invite your friends to join you.
Movie Rating: Two Paws Up! Highly Recommended!