The Way

After some gentle urging from some of my JayFlix colleagues, I finally picked up a DVD of this expertly targeted movie from the library and viewed it. I say expertly targeted because it clearly speaks to a huge number of people who appreciate the redemption of an estranged father who reluctantly follows a path chosen by his (deceased) son.

Adapting the book by Jack Hitt, "Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim's Route Into Spain," Emilio Estevez has crafted a screenplay that features his father Martin Sheen as the modern-day pilgrim who takes his son's ashes along "El camino de Santiago," in northern Spain. Also directed by Mr. Estevez, this satisfying little gem is sweet, funny and inspiring. It has been nominated for numerous awards.

We see:
  • Martin Sheen ("Anger Management" with his son Charlie Sheen) is a California ophthalmologist who decides on the spur of the moment to complete the trek his son had begun. Perhaps he will come to understand him a little better.
  • Emilio Estevez (lots of TV) in a few flashbacks plays the deceased son.
  • Deborah Kara Unger ("Crash") is a Canadian peregrina whose sole purpose for this pilgrimage to quit smoking.
  • Yorick van Wageninger ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" 2011) is a gregarious, pudgy fellow from the Netherlands. He wants to lose weight so he can fit into his old suit.
  • James Nesbitt ("Coriolanus") is an Irish author suffering from writer's block.
As time passes and the miles accumulate, a tentative foursome has formed. We see other peregrinos (pilgrims) and appreciate the warmth and hospitality extended by the Basques and Spaniards along the way. I couldn't help but wonder where and how they kept themselves clean, how they adjusted to the cramped hostels in which they slept and the unusual food they ate. I very much enjoyed their reaction at one point, when they were given the luxury of individual hotel rooms.

Treat yourself to a scenic stroll through an interesting countryside with occasional stops at way stations, hostels and cathedrals.
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Here is a trailer:
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