This weekend I was finally able to see THE WAY with Martin Sheen. This Indy movie written, directed, and produced by Sheen’s son, Emilio Estevez, had been on my must-see list for months. It opened in a few theaters last year, had a good word-of-mouth, but didn’t get the Big Money needed for wide distribution. I’d been trying, in vain, to get it at the only video store left in town. I’m happy to announce, it is currently available through Netflix streaming.
The story line is simple, Martin Sheen’s character is a well-to-do LA widower/opthmalogist. While playing a round of golf, he receives a call that his only son (Estevez) has died in France. The son was on the first day of walking the famous Camino de Santiago pilgramage through France and Spain. Thus begins the father’s journey through grief, both physically and metaphorically, as he carries the son’s ashes across two countries on an ancient road.
The scenery alone is worth the price of admission. The mountains, villages, and meadows are a spiritual experience. Sheen becomes one of an unlikely quartet taking the journey for personal reasons. They begin as strangers, but end as comrades, having faced their challenges in the way that camping and military campaigns brings people together.
The film delivers a subtle sense of spirituality, without ramming any particular viewpoint down the viewer’s throat. It conveys a lovely respect for the Sacred as the group makes it to the official end of the road at the Cathedral of Santiago which honors St. James. Estevez takes his time with the scene as the characters experience the spiritual communion in their own ways.
I’m sure I’m one of millions of movie lovers constantly seeking a film that not only tells a story, but lifts the spirit. Finding a movie like THE WAY, is like finding a gold nugget in a mountain of worthless, dull rocks.
Have a lovely day!