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great piece of cinema
bill considine15 May 2011
I have looked forward to "the way" since first hearing about it. I heard interviews with Martin Sheen himself and a great double interview with Martin and Emilio on Irish radio. I did a part of the camino in 2009 and It was a life changing/enhancing experience for me so I couldn't wait to see how the film would deal with it. Yesterday I saw the film in the Screen cinema in College Green Dublin. The film is, in my opinion, very true to the camino experience. A previous reviewer trivialised it as "a road movie" and suggested "wizard of Oz" characterisation. The camino "road" has been travelled for over a thousand years. Long before "road movies" were even thought about and yes, any story of fellow travellers sharing their stories on a journey, can be similar to the "wizard of Oz" but I think Chaucers "Canterbury Tales" is probably the true origin of the species. The camino de Santiago in its reality, and in this film, is a wonderful kaleidoscopic confluence of humanity. Pilgrims seem to self-select for certain character traits such as eccentricity, other worldliness, joyfullness, adventurousness, hurt, curiosity etc. Tom's companions were all from the palette of characters I found on the camino. Tom himself was an accidental pilgrim and only at the end of the camino did he allow himself to fall in love with it like the others. Tom, the cynical skeptic, driven to put one foot in front of another as a way of dealing with the brokenness of his relationship with his son and the trauma of his sudden death, allows the distance required to allow viewers share in the journey of the Camino in a way that could not have been achieved by following four "ordinary" pilgrims, no matter how colourful. Tom was the "straight man", the foil, that allowed the full colours of all the other characters to shine through. I thought it was a brilliant piece of cinema. Ole!
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It's not "The Way", it's "Our Own Way"
msmoc19 May 2011
This is surely Emilio Estevez's Masterwork, in the same way as was Costner's "Dances with Wolves". It is "The Quiet Epic"! The movie didn't require; Noise, CGI, Foul Language or Special Effects - all that it needed and got were; Across the Board Top Class Acting Performances and Brilliant Cinematography.

Although, no longer a spring chicken, I spent over 2 hours completely engrossed in this film, alternating between tears and laughter. I found it was a movie made with such loving care that it encouraged, and enabled me, to share their experience and make my own life journey with them. My own emotions and life history became intermingled with theirs. I feel it was Emilio's intention for us all to take "Our Own Way".

My main sadness is that so many people will be unable to see it at cinemas, as it has only been given a single weeks run to facilitate the usual glut of "So called Blockbusters". Movies like The Way need time to breathe, as "Word of Mouth" is the key to expanding Audience figures and the wider appreciation such a work deserves..
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Understated and therefore very moving
paulinewainwright3 May 2011
This movie exceeded all expectations, which were already very high. All kudos to Emilio Estevez for an excellent screenplay and superb direction. The photography, too, was wonderful. I think this will go down as one of Martin Sheen's best ever performances. He underplays his role (due to Emilio's direction?) which makes it all the stronger. In fact, it's the understated quality of the whole film that makes it very moving. It never descends into sentimentality but you still feel the grief of Martin Sheen's character as he makes the pilgrimage his estranged dead son never completed. At the same time, there are a lot of funny moments, which lift it from becoming a depressing journey. The gradual coalescing of the four very different main characters into a unified group works very well. Each of them has a different reason for making the pilgrimage and, to begin with, they seem to have nothing in common, but it's still very believable when they start to relate to each other. Emilio and his father Martin have every reason to be very proud of this film. It works on every level.
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wonderful film
gareth-9114 May 2011
went to see this last night at 11.10pm, but cinema forgot to start the film, so it was 5 to midnight before we got going - with a little prompting.

It makes me want to do el camino. Very touching. I cried twice and laughed, and towards the end was sitting with a huge grin on my face. The warmth between the characters was good, honest, authentic.

It's also like having plans to do one thing, but you end up doing something quite different, that just grows. I could feel a loosening at the end of it, where feelings had shifted for people, there was a release for the characters that had happened in a very real way. Nothing grated, it was very gentle, but built up to a wave that carried me with it.

Scenery is beautiful of course. An interesting bit with the gypsies in Spain that I found challenging. It brought me up as I believed the same stuff they assumed - I'd heard it so much: and it is interesting when I realised that what I've accepted as truth may just be prejudice. We all like a scapegoat to absolve ourselves, and to feel superior to other folks.

Well done everyone involved with this. I think I will be buying a few copies of this to hand out.

It makes me want to go, but it kind of makes me want to go alone to see who I meet on the way.
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My 393rd Review: Treads Lightly But Very Nicely...
intelearts27 March 2011
This beautiful simple and involving film is one of the better films I've seen in the past couple of years. It does what the best of cinema can - it moves us, and reminds us that life is a journey full of chance encounters and that its not all serendipity, but we can walk on too.

Matin Sheen and his son, Emilio Estevez, make a winning team here - the direction, though straightforward is, like Ron Howard, filled with memorable scenes and images that linger. Sheen himself is always good at taking us with him - his half-amused, half-bemused style suits this perfectly. As he travels on the old pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela to deal with tragic loss he meets and forms a group with three other pilgrims.

All in all, the overall experience of watching this is simply pleasure - and like Danny Boyle's films, it seems simple but it is a complete experience. The Way is human, emotive, emotional, and sincere, and for this viewer a good journey.
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Martin Sheen walks 500 miles in northern Spain and it is a pleasure to watch every single one
chaz-2820 October 2011
Everyone has their own, personal reason for choosing to walk the real 500 mile Camino de Santiago. This is a trail which begins in France, winds its way through the French Pyrenees, across northern Spain's Basque region, and ends in Galicia at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Legend says St. James is buried here. Every year, thousands of 'pilgrims' make this arduous trek which can take months to accomplish. However, don't let the word pilgrim fool you; many people undertake this quest for non-religious reasons.

In fact, four such folk are the main characters in The Way. Tom (Martin Sheen) is a native Californian eye doctor who spends as much time on the links as he does at the office. He receives an unexpected phone call from a French policeman informing him his son Daniel (Emilio Estevez) died in southern France in a major storm. Tom flies out to France to collect his body and learns about the pilgrimage Daniel was just starting out on.

Tom and Daniel did not have the best parting one would like to have the last time you are going to see your son. Tom thought Daniel was wasting his life on these silly adventures while Daniel responded with the platitude, "You don't choose your life, you experience it." In a moment of remorse and homage, Tom decides to walk the 500 miles for Daniel with his cremated remains spreading his ashes along the way.

Quickly, he is joined by fellow pilgrims each with their own reasons for taking a few months out of their lives to backpack across Spain. There is the Dutchman Joost (Yorick van Wageningen) who is walking the trail to lose weight for his brother's wedding. Sarah (Deborah Kara Unger) is a chain smoking Canadian who vows to drop the habit once she reaches the cathedral and Jack (James Nesbitt) is an Irishman convinced the trail will finally crack his writer's block. Initially, Tom does not particularly want their company because he is suffering from some severe guilt and remorse about Daniel. This leads to the film's low point of a drunken rage against pilgrims and his walking mates. Fortunately, once this ridiculous and needless scene is over, the rest of The Way is a very enjoyable movie to watch.

The Way was shot with only available light, sunlight during the day and candles and fire at night which lends it a great deal of authenticity. Other than the main characters, everyone else on screen are actual pilgrims walking the trail to the cathedral. There is a scene later on with real Roma (Gypsies). Since the Camino de Santiago means a great deal to many people, especially those in northern Spain, you can really see how writer/director Emilio Estevez took his time to do this right.

It is refreshing to see Emilio pop his head up once again for some work. I last saw him when he directed 2006's Bobby and since then it appears he has only directed a couple episodes of Numb3rs. Perhaps he is always waiting for some real inspiration to use as his next project. He mentioned The Way came about from his father and his son's experience on the trail. I wonder if the character Jack is a model for Emilio since the first draft of this screenplay took six months to write. Furthermore, it is about time Martin Sheen showed up in a good movie again. Recently, he has had some bit parts in throw away movies such as Love Happens and Imagine That and hasn't truly had quality work since The Departed.

The Way won't win any awards; however, it is so positive and perhaps intentionally persuasive that I bet every person in the audience thought about how they could find a few months to take off and hike that distance. I had no idea that such a place as the Camino de Santiago existed before watching The Way which I suspect is a big reason why Emilio Estevez took the time to write and direct this film. He wants the rest of us to know about it as well.
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Simple but engaging road movie
DanielKing21 February 2011
Like most road movies, this is as much about the characters' inward journey as it is about getting from A to B. At times it is too sentimental for my taste and some of the encounters seem rather artificial. But it has considerable warmth, humanity and good humour.

I saw this at the BFI in London at a screening attended by Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen. They are very proud of their film and it obviously means a lot to them, as father and son. They came across as intelligent and socially aware people, which was great to see.

During the discussion, a member of the audience pointed out the parallels with "The Wizard of Oz", something which I confess escaped me while the film was on but seemed perfectly obvious when I heard it. So watch out for that if you see the movie, and also look out for a cameo by Matt Clark, veteran character actor and, apparently, good friend of MArtin Sheen.
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Simple yet impressive !
oiwiein2 November 2011
I really liked this film. It made me feel good. I loved the beautiful countryside camera shots. Those alone are worthy of National Geographic. The parts between conversations had a calming effect on me along with the soundtrack. I thought Martin Sheen did very well as did the other actors. They all worked so well together and by the end of the movie you could see they spent a lot of time together on the set and honestly got along or so it seemed and thats what made the movie impressive. Wonderful movie to watch with an uplifting vibe and quirky characters with a real bond make this a definite must see. I can actually see myself watching this for a second time and that's rare in films for me. Enjoy !
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Refuses to get lost on a road so big
Steve Pulaski11 October 2011
I've been anticipating The Way for about two and a half years for the wrong reason - I wanted to see Emilio Estevez back on the screen. The last formal film he appeared in was Rated X with his brother Charlie Sheen in 2000. Finally we see Emilio's talents not only behind the camera, but in writing as well. He handles the screenplay, the directing, and the producing in this beautifully crafted film.

You can tell just from the close-to-home feel of the character The Way is something sentimental and meaningful to both Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. Both real life father and son actors have been taking most of their time in 2011 and using it to promote a film with heart and soul, but will likely be ignored when in theaters because of its very limited release and its minimal marketing.

The story focuses on Tom (Sheen), an American doctor, who goes to France after hearing his adventure-seeking son Daniel (Estevez) has died in a storm while hiking the Camino de Santiago - a famed Christian route many walk on to find faith or go to Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela at the end of the five-hundred mile route.

After arriving in France to pick up Daniel's ashes, Tom makes a split-second decision that he will follow hike the path of his son, while spreading his ashes throughout the trail. He meets up with many different people with many different stories. They are Joost (Wageningen), a Dutchman who is hiking the trail for exercise purposes, Sarah (Unger) who is trying to quit smoking, and "Jack from Ireland" (Nesbitt) who is suffering from writer's block and is trying to collect information about fellow hikers and their separate journeys.

The Way has a number of strange qualities - for one it has noticeable parallels to the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz. And two, it is odd for Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, two actors that practice in strict Catholicism, to focus on a film that leads to a Christian Cathedral. Whatever the reason behind it, the story is pitch-perfect and Martin Sheen may have just given one of the best performances of his career.

The tears come and go in The Way, but so do the shocker scenes like when the topic of abortion is briefly mentioned. It is rare for such a film to bring up a controversial topic, which is why The Way deserves a load of credit.

The plot isn't too deep, but the story is truly moving. The acting by the four characters is fantastic, and like any road movie, it is more about the characters getting to find their inner-selves rather than walking from point a to point b. Only here - it is more welcomed because of the fact that is what the Camino de Santiago is all about.

Starring: Martin Sheen, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt, Yorick van Wageningen, and Emilio Estevez. Directed by: Emilio Estevez.
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The pilgrimage of a father mourning his adult son
anders-162-82954817 September 2011
This carefully written road movie drama was directed by Emilio Estevez, who used traditional footage, and laid out the story over a compelling soundtrack with artists such as Tyler Bates, James Taylor and Nick Drake. In brief, we're following Martin Sheen's character Tom during his pilgrimage journey whilst mourning his dead son who died on the same pilgrim route after only one day. Tom meets people along the way who also become his friends, although Tom himself is uninviting. In contrast to the other characters Tom develops throughout the film and goes through the various stages of mourning that come with a great loss such as he suffered. Except from the usual message that people spend too little time reflecting over their life's I think "The Way" makes a good job of describing the strong bond between father and son, and at the same time highlight some problems with that relationship. Some scenes are obviously there to hammer in those two messages and the film would have been even better had they been made more subtle. I do recommend watching this film, and I think it shows that Emilio Estevez' directing skills don't just pertain to "Bobby".
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Beautiful, moving journey
Jay Ducharme31 December 2011
Estevez has created an emotional heartfelt journey. On the surface, the film is about a father's desperate attempt to come to terms with his son's death. But it's also about the spiritual journey we all must take in our lives and the inner demons we battle. The film is simply shot, which gives it a sense of realism. The performances are all solid and suitably understated. The continually unfolding cast of characters fit into the story like puzzle pieces that you didn't realize were missing until that moment. By the end of the movie I felt as if I had experienced the Camino with them. The script is poignant without being preachy, funny without being crude. The Way is well worth seeing.
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Buen Camino
paudie9 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I thoroughly enjoyed "The Way". It is the story of an American father (Martin Sheen) who goes to Europe to collect the body of his son, who has been killed in an accident when starting the pilgrimage known as "The Camino de Santiago", starting in France and finishing in North Western Spain.

He decides to finish the route with his son's ashes. Having heard the story outline I feared that the movie would be too sentimental and corny for my liking but this is not the case.

Thanks to some excellent acting and a well-written script we get to see into the lives of Sheen's character as well as the companions he meets on the trek. They are all doing the walk for their own reasons but the movie never becomes maudlin as it gradually reveals their stories.

An undoubted success for Emilio Estevez,who directed and wrote the story.
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Just Beautiful.
Jim Kobayashi15 March 2012
The movie got 7.3 rating on IMDb, so I was expecting "ok movie" when the movie started. Then 123 min was passed. The GREAT 123 min of my life was unfortunately passed. Like it was 5 minutes, I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen until a whole movie's end. I was quite surprised.

The remarkable things about this movie is the scenery and how they filmed it. Beautiful views of mountains, magnificent landscape of old towns in Spain and France. Especially the old buildings in Burgos were beautifully filmed by the filmmakers. And because of that I'm pretty sure this movie makes many audience want to travel there, just like I did.

Not only about the scenery, but also the plot was decent in this film. A father lost his son tried to understand his son through the pilgrimage. Even as a not religious person, I'm Japanese, I could simply enjoyed the movie, and the main topic of the movie "true meaning of the pilgrimage" was very clear to me in the last 10 min of the film.

Do I recommend this to my friends? definitely yes! Does it worth to rent ? absolutely yes! Does it worth to purchase it? yes yes YES!!! If you want to watch some car chase and gun shooting, go rent another one. But If you want to watch a simple but decent and great movie, this is it! You can't miss it!
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My faith is being restored in cinema.
Steve Roehr (skroehr)23 November 2011
At a time in my life when I have been growing quite cynical about the future of cinema and film making, 3 movies this year have worked to restore my faith in our ability to make great movies, and I hope they portend a glimpse into the future of this, my favorite art form.

In recent months, I've been treated to not just one, but three deeply moving film treats. 127 Hours, The Kings Speech, and this movie, "The Way" which is my favorite of all. These movies are all powerful and dense in content and emotion, without the use of gratuitous sex or violence. They are adult, real, frank, and thought provoking, without being twisted or gross.

These are three completely different movies, from three different directors, and with very different subject matter. Their only common thread is that they are simply good. Very good. Films like these are the reason I fell in love with the movies so very many years ago. The one which zeroed in on my individual heart though, even among these three great films, was "The Way".

There are plenty of great reviews here about the specifics of the film, and I encourage you to read enough of them to pump you up to see it, but don't try to find out too much about the movie. How it unfolds, etc.. The movie itself can be a mini pilgrimage. Just go, knowing you will enjoy it more than Twilight Part X, and let your self be vulnerable to this beautiful movie.

This film is a chance for you to have a 2 hour mini-pilgrimage of your own. To reflect on your own journey in life, whatever form that it taking. To suffer, die, and be reborn in a brief afternoon at your local multiplex, and to give a knowing smile, and wink from time to time, and to laugh as well. In short, this masterpiece by Emilio Estevez takes you skillfully through all the stages that happen on real pilgrimage. It's brilliant on every level. It's writing cuts straight to the heart. The editing is perfect, the cinematography gorgeous, and the characters are extraordinarily real, whether they make you cringe, or want to give them a hug, or both, (which is usually the case with not only these characters, but all the real people we meet in our lives). This is us in miniature. All of us. Captured by a master craftsman.

I'll actually be hurt, if the academy doesn't recognize this truly amazing film. I'm not sure if it fits the typical Oscar M.O., but if it doesn't, then the academy is blind. I want this film to do very well, in all regards. It's what we need in Hollywood. It's time. We've done enough of the same old thing to last us a life time. How about a steady stream of gems, and genuine works of personal love, such as this being offered on many more screens, than CGI sterility and vampire soap operas.

This is one to savor, and let it have it's way with you emotionally. There was literally not a dry eye in the (sadly underpopulated) theater my wife and I went to. One of only two screens in this city of hundreds, to be showing the best movie out right now, hands down.
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Big Heart
Guy3 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
THE WAY is a small, simple road movie about a father who completes the pilgrimage his son died on. Along the way he is joined by three other pilgrims - a Canadian, an Irishman and a Dutchman - who all have their own diverse reasons for pilgrimage. There is very little that is big about this film except for its heart and the landscapes. It is that rarest of things- a nice film that leaves you feeling good about the world, without descending in sickliness or falseness.

There is an obvious relationship to THE WIZARD OF OZ: four characters, all on a journey, hoping it will cure them of their particular problem. Here we have a man who wants to lose weight, a writer with writer's block and a woman who wants to give up smoking. The film is competently handled, bar a few dreadful musical choices, and rather enjoyable. The Christian subtext might not appeal to some but it is never over-played, with the attack on abortion being unusually sensitive.
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A stunning, beautiful, heart wrenching story
Robert W.21 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I like nothing more than when you see a movie that you only have meagre expectations of, maybe you'd heard of it or seen a trailer but don't know what to expect and then WHAM it blows you away. That is exactly what happened with Emilio Estevez's The Way. The movie is not your typical Hollywood blockbuster. It isn't fast paced, it isn't full of action or riveting moments. Instead it is simple, heart felt, subtle and completely and utterly beautiful. Your emotions will just run high and while the movie has this dark undertone of sadness and grief, the beauty, and the spirit of the journey will lift you up and make you want to experience this again and again. I haven't seen a movie that made me feel this way in such a long time. The stunning scenery is only small part of this film but what a beautiful countryside this rag tag group of pilgrims experience. Its a story about four people from different walks of life on the same walk to experience something...anything...and you will walk with them step by step.

Martin Sheen is a Hollywood icon and a terrific actor but this is probably his best role in years. Sheen gives a powerhouse performance that just makes you love and feel for this father looking desperately to find a son he's lost, but also a piece of himself. Sheen is riveting and this was an award worthy performance. Yorick van Wageningen is Sheen's first companion that he meets. A dutch man who, on the surface is walking The Way for his weight but you will learn much more about him. He seems a bizarre match to Sheen but they work well together and he is a lot of fun and adds a smile to the film. Deborah Kara Unger is the jaded and angry Canadian girl (she really is Canadian!) She adds a definitive flare to the cast with her sarcasm and biting wit but has perhaps the most to take from the journey. James Nesbitt is perhaps the least developed of the characters as he comes on late in the movie but he is still an important part of the cast and he is terrific. Nesbitt's character most importantly gets Sheen to finally open up about his son. Writer, director and creator of the film Emilio Estevez plays the small role of Sheen's son. It is significant though because I think the intensity of the emotions Sheen displays is increased by the fact that Estevez is actually his son.

Estevez really blew me away with his previous project Bobby. I've come to the conclusion that when Estevez cares about a project he puts every ounce of his soul into the film. The Way demonstrates what kind of passion he puts into his film. It is just beautiful in every sense of the word. The Spanish countryside is stunning, the shots he uses of all of them together walking the trail, and the relationship he creates between these four strangers who are completely different. I felt on the verge of tears through the whole film but not just because it is sad because there are scenes of sadness but just how heart felt and honest and passionate this movie is. Please see this beautiful and simple drama because it is magnificent. 10/10
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One of this years best
drramirez4 November 2011
In this "feel good" movie, Martin Sheen is the principal actor. Emilio Estevez has written, produced, and directed a magnificent film.

The star of this film is "El Camino de Santiago", a 600 kilometer pilgrimage trail from France, down in and through the N. of Spain.

The plot reveals why Martin Sheen feels he must attempt to complete this pilgrimage. Destitute with sorrow he initially shuns companionship along the trail. Circumstances will reveal how he eventually befriends 3 fellow travelers. One actually gets the feeling that this long journey is a joyful experience. The last scene in this movie reveals the entire theme of the movie.

Superb photography within Spain and France, the music reveals itself as it identifies with the visuals. A "must see".
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Extremely Moving Experience
aharmas20 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
2011 has given us its share of small films that deal with intimate human experiences. Some go and explore social issues, universal themes of oppression and racism. "The Way" brings together a group of people on their own personal quests, looking for a miracle, a possibility of change for the better, hoping for the best, sharing "El Camino to Compostela".

After a father loses his only son in France, he heads back to claim his body, only to realize there are important spiritual matters he needs to settle. His relationship with his son had not been his best until this moment; completing his son's journey might give him an opportunity to find redemption and peace of mind.

On his way to Compostela, he is joined by a Dutch man, an American woman, and an Irish writer. Each of them has a story to tell, seeks a connection to Avery, who reluctantly lets them into his life. The journey takes them through interesting stops. One will probably end up saying "miracles actually happen" with the way the plot turns.

In reality, the film works well because the main actors give heartfelt performance. The entire cast is in fact amazing, giving depth to characters that could have been clichés. The most touching is a surprise, as the shallow Dutch man grows more and more interesting as he becomes our eyes, and we are witnesses to a man who is processing the emotions his fellow companions are feeling.

It's hard not to be moved by the display of faith in a film that could have gone overboard and become preachy. Instead, he lets us participate in some personal experiences, taking us through "the way", letting us see the surroundings, the people at the different stops, letting us become involved. It is a very moving experience.
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An exercise in manipulation and stereotypes
s-neaverson1 April 2012
When someone goes into this movie, they are probably expectingly an uplifting, often funny, occasional teary eyed picture.

None of those adjectives apply to the The Way.

The film is manipulative and ridiculous. Whenever the director thinks you should feel a certain emotion, instead of lightly tugging at your heart strings, he throws it in your face and never thinks twice. Need a "dark" moment? Get drunk and argue for no reason!

The characters seem to be drawn from a kids play book. There's the "fun" Dutchman, the constantly angry feminist who berates the main character for of all things "being a baby boomer" when they haven't even exchanged names. Then there's the "arrogant" Irish writer, yet you wouldn't even know why. He just is. Because he's accused of it.

This film is ridiculous, manipulative and stereotypical.
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A second-rate film whose worst legacy is that it is ruining the actual Camino walk for real pilgrims
Paul McGuiness12 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The premise of this film doesn't sound too bad: 'A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while travelling the "El camino de Santiago," and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.' If you can imagine a good film along those lines then I'd recommend leaving it at that. If there's one lesson to be learnt from this movie, it's that life is too precious to waste two hours of yours watching it.

Martin Sheen's decent performance in the face of a weak plot, unconvincing dialogue and substandard production values is one of the only redeeming features. He described it as the best role that had ever been written for him but you have to wonder if he would have said that or indeed gone anywhere near this project had his son not been the writer and director.

I have recently done this walk and it is a great experience. There are incredible vistas along the way as well as long barren stretches, none of which are captured here with any great degree of skill or imagination. It looks like someone's first attempt having done an evening course in filmmaking and, checking out the director's filmography, that's not (relatively speaking) too far off the mark.

You also meet interesting characters along the actual Camino but being real, three-dimensional people, they bear absolutely no resemblance to the ones depicted here. One of the few things that the makers of this production actually managed to achieve was matching the general quality of the acting performances with the quality of everything else - it was all below par.

With a running time of 2 hours (that feels like an eternity) you can't help but feel that they should have been a bit more liberal with the scissors in the editing suite. It does beg the question though: which bits would actually merit being left in?

You may get the impression that I'm not the kind of person this film is aimed at. On the contrary, I imagine that my sensibilities would put me very much in the target market. My favourite films are ones with themes of hope, fraternity and triumph of the human spirit. I think The Way attempts to capture these motifs but just doesn't manage it in any sense.

One of the genres listed for this film is comedy but the only really humorous aspect of it unfolds as it descends into a surreal game of "Where's Wally?" as you wonder 'where is the wally responsible for writing and directing this thing going to pop up next?'...Every now and then Emilio Estevez's dead character (who looks more like a swollen corpse than I think was the intention) jarringly appears in more and more ridiculous places. It really wouldn't have seemed that incongruous had his head popped out of a toilet as Sheen's Tom had gone to relieve himself from the torture of having to converse with his insufferable walking companions.

Unfortunately the worst legacy of this film is that it is ruining the Camino de Santiago not just in its second-rate depiction of it but in actuality as thousands of baby boomer retired Americans flock to France and Spain in order to find themselves and presumably implausible fat Dutchmen called Joost and obnoxious Canadian women called Sarah. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against anyone doing the walk who wants to and certainly nothing against the people of that great country. But when you've walked 30km to your destination with a 15kg pack on your back only to be greeted by people piling out of a taxi, having paid for their bags to be sent on, joining the queue for the accommodation that's meant to be reserved for walkers it does leave a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth. This is especially true when it means that you have to either sleep outside (this actually happened) or walk another 6km to the next town with no guarantee of a place to stay there either.

Also, don't think that my experiences on the walk clouded my objective view of this film. I was looking forward to seeing what had inspired so many people to make their trip and was hoping to relive the countless positive memories I'd had. This just wasn't what I found.

You never really find out what it was that killed Estevez's character in The Way, I can only assume that this and indeed the whole film is some kind of a metaphor for the suicide note to his directing career that it is.
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Wonderful character movie... warm, reverent and congenial
Two Gun2 November 2011
A tip of the cap to director/writer Emilio Estevez for this one. He treats faith and spirituality with refreshing respect even though he plays it a bit too safe for my taste. This is a story about a father coming to grips with the loss of his son and does so honoring his memory on a famous pilgrimage, the "El camino de Santiago" in Spain. It's a slowly developing character piece that simply involves pilgrims walking while seeking something along the way. The first half of the film suffers from the attempt to separate spirituality from religion. Nothing moving or profound happens during the first half of the journey. We get walking, LOTS of walking but we also get to know the characters and are rewarded for doing so because the last half of the film really does shine. The varied motivations of his fellow pilgrims all come in to play and nothing really is what it seems with each person on the surface. Faith and purpose means different things to different people and the movie does explore that but does so with the lightest touch possible. There's no preaching or heavy-handed sermon stuff anywhere in site. It certainly is more broadly spiritual than specifically religious. It's a slow paced and ultimately light take on both spirituality and religion because it does play it safe. Audiences of faith will find it warm, reverent and congenial but not as truly satisfying because of the cautious approach. Sheen's character is a professed lapsed Catholic but it's good to see those aspects dealt with in a meaningful and emotional manner. Some aspects of his faith are seen on the journey and certainly during the climactic scene at the shrine itself. As a Catholic, I appreciated the little gestures others may not and especially the influence that St. James' shrine exerted on Sheen's character. Overall, this is a wonderful character movie.
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An American, A Dutchman and an Irishman walk into a bar...
I_actually_am_sam23 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
An American, A dutchman and an Irishman walk into a bar...It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke but it's the middle of a mediocre movie that could have (should have!) been great.

Frankly I'm a little baffled by the glowing reviews and the "best movie ever" superlatives from some of the other users here. In the end this is an overlong, highly unoriginal movie with clumsy dialogue and clichéd characters.

The story of Martin Sheen walking the camino to complete his dead son's journey had all the potential to be great. Instead it stayed so far within its comfort zone it was a real bore.

A special mention goes to the clichéd characters: a dutchman who does drugs and parties (no way!) but has decided to walk the 800km to "lose weight" for a wedding. I'm sorry? There are far more effective ways to lose some weight; an Irish writer with writer's block whose every utterance made me cringe - particularly his opening monologue about writers. And a Canadian woman, who is angry at....what exactly? Throw in some clichéd, unbelievably friendly locals who react to our four pilgrims arrival in the various towns as if they're the first they've seen in months in spite of the fact that literally hundreds of people are doing this trek everyday. A particular shout-out goes to the Spanish gypsy in this respect.

I was also kind of surprised that Estevez's character, Daniel, is still yelled at by his Dad for not doing anything with his life even though he's nearly 40. Time to get over it I think.

I have some friends who did the last part of the Camino de Santiago and they said that you had to get to each town early to be sure of a bed that night - not like our 4 intrepid trekkers who can rock up whenever they want and have a choice of hostels! Also, they had sores and blisters on their feet after 2 days and they would be fairly fit guys. Sheen on the other hand, despite not being fit enough to walk around a golf course, hardly has to stop for a breath.

But OK, there is some poetic licence involved in movie-making.

The positives: The scenery is beautiful; Sheen is in standard Sheen mode, uptight and dignified; and there are a few genuinely funny and moving moments.

But every time something happens that makes you think "maybe this movie is alright" something happens that is completely unrealistic and condescending. The final scene was the nail in the coffin, so to speak, with all characters giving an only-in-the-movies one line sign off before leaving individually.

A real disappointment.
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What a way!
forchion16 February 2012
The Way is an honest and at moment too honest tale of love and loss, of family, and of purpose. With elegant cinematography and brutally honest acting The Way weaves us on a clear path with an urgent yet constantly changing purpose. Mr Estevez managed to weave a brilliantly written story of spirituality without forcing upon us his preachings.

The most disappointing thing about this film is that it will not be seen by a wide audience.

The Way is a piece of cinema that is felt as much as it is seen. With The Way Emelio Estevez can take his rightful place among cinematic greats.
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A movie everyone should see. Stunning amazing..
Westeire25 February 2012
Loved this movie for so many reasons.. The story is amazing, the movie is well made and captured me from the start. It may seem like a religious movie... Its not, it appeals to all. The story is one of humanity, fathe,son love, hope and touches the very core of who we are. I think that it is great to see movies with this theme, death, love, life, hope, .... Really what an inspiration...Yes its about a walk on the camino de santiago, in todays world we need to take note of these movies that shine a light on hope . Even if you are not religious the movie is really well made. I liked the sound track. bottom line what so I think? Its like a breath of fresh air!!!
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Maybe the best movie I ever saw...
spookmineer10 May 2011
Maybe the best movie I ever saw.

What do you want out of a movie?...

I saw this movie twice and I couldn't keep my eyes dry. This movie moves you.

What do you expect from a movie? I want it to move me. If this won't move you, you're heart is stone.

Not getting sentimental (in the script etc) is what got me to tears. Not aiming for it is what got me. This is so truthful.

This is merely a shout out to Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen for their performances. Respect, I hope to see more.
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