The Way (I) (2010)
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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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
A charming movie that skirts around religious intentions and mixes in some good human tenderness and friendship. It's a feel-good movie for sure, following four hikers who meet by accident on the road to Santiago de Compostela, or the St. James Way. This is a pilgrimage road that many people have been rediscovering over the last thirty years (it's frankly threatened to become overrun with walkers). The distance varies depending on where you start, but can easily be 500 miles.
So people who undertake this for whatever reason do so seriously. It's not a lighthearted enterprise (and if you look online there are 10 reasons not to do it, reminding walkers that much of the trip is near roadways and a very modern Spain). But this movie romanticizes the heck out of it, and it makes it all a feel-good experience. There may be no particular revelations, human or spiritual, here, but it's fun to get to know the people as they open up to one another.
The main figure is Martin Sheen, who carries with him (on an impulse, as you'll see) the ashes of his son. Bereavement is written all over him, and he tries to find meaning in life beyond the golfing and ophthalmology left behind for this trip. This plot idea takes a twist because the director is Sheen's son, Emilio Estevez (who also appears briefly).
There is a little travelogue aspect here, and a little filler (like the whole section with the gypsies), but it's all pretty and easy to watch. And the best of it is sweet without being saccharine.
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.
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".
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
As others have said, it's the understated acting of Martin Sheen that is so exceptional here. The characters develop into a bond that only long term travelers can know, one that transcends choice or will. You can't always choose your companions or your life. As Emilio says, "You don't choose a life, dad. You live one."
There are no one-dimensional characters here, no good vs bad themes, no fairytale ending, thankfully no obligatory Hollywood romance which would have been forced and out of place.
As a nomad and hiker, I can attest that travel is healing. This movie will show you how.
The film takes you on a journey, and boy, do you feel like you've been on one by the end of film. And, by the end of the this film, I was left thinking, that for my 40th or 50th Birthday, I'm certainly thinking of doing this pilgrimage myself.
I had been wanting to see the film since that first time, and gratefully, BBC Two premiered the film just the other day, and watching it again, I still find myself inspired to do this. Lets hope when I turn 40, or 50, I still want to do this!
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.
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.