Sunday Review: The Way (movie)

The Way

Rating: 4 out of 5

For those who seek more from life than society dictates for them.

Spoiler Alert: I’m going to describe only the basis of the story without too many details. I won’t go into the characters’ motives or their individual stories, and I won’t share the ending. You’ll be able to watch after reading this review and still not have scenes spoilt. The trailer gives more away than this review. I’m going to talk about the spiritual side of the story. Don’t mistake this for the religious side because I’m not religious even though travelling el Camino de Santiago is a traditional Catholic pilgrimage (not really, before this it was the traditional Celtic and Pagan pilgrimage to the end of the earth, but that’s another tale.).

The story begins with the main character Dr. Thomas Avery (Martin Sheen) learning his free-spirited son, Daniel (Emilio Estevez), has died during a storm while walking El Camino in the Pyrenees, France. He goes there to collect the remains and decides to walk El Camino for his son.

The WayAlong the way, he meets fellow hikers portrayed by Deborah Kara Unger (Canadian actor playing Sarah from Canada), Yorick Van Wageningen (Netherlands actor playing Joost from Amsterdam) and James Nesbitt (Irish actor playing Jack from Ireland).

As a Canadian, I was pleasantly surprised to see our country represented but disappointed the stereotype ‘eh’ was the way she was introduced. Jack from Ireland was a writer with writers’ block who was determined to break it on El Camino.

The premise for The Way is fairly basic: People who want something more out of life than what society has dictated for them set out to find themselves or perhaps a little piece of adventure to hold onto when they return to normal life. Along the way, they may not find what they set out to, but they discover something wonderful about themselves.

This movie may not appeal to people under the age of 25. The target audience is between 40 and 60, and I land right in the middle of that. It’s for people who are looking for something more meaningful than what is found in the average movie. There are no sex scenes, cursing, violence or heavy drama.

The story is for people who desire substance in their lives and who are tired of the everyday rhetoric, the burden of technology and the clutter of stuff that fills our homes and our lives. It’s for people who want to feel the freedom of life again, as if they were kids running through the woods seeking adventure at every turn, yet think deeply about how it is all connected and what living truly means.

The romance of finding camaraderie while enduring a long journey will appeal to those who have experienced that in their lifetime. They will know that feeling of tackling a challenge with others can connect them to those people in ways nothing else can. I have felt that connection and yearn for it again after watching the movie.

The Way reminds us that we are all on a journey, and the experiences and the people we meet along the way is what brings true joy to living. Estevez’s character said it best, “You don’t choose a life; you live it.”

The life we choose for ourselves might not be the life we were meant to lead. If it doesn’t bring true satisfaction, true joy, then it was meant for someone else. Every day, we have the power to change our lives, make decisions that will put us on the right path.

This is where I am in life. I want to explore as I’ve never explored before. I want run and test my strength, my physical and mental capacity to see what I can endure. I want to move out of my comfort zone because I know from past experiences, I’ve learned more and grown when placed in uncomfortable conditions. It matches that old saying: don’t seek comfort; seek freedom.

The movie doesn’t state—or at least I didn’t catch it—how Daniel could travel the world as he did. Maybe it doesn’t matter. But for the rest of us, we can’t pick up and leave for a couple months on a regular basis. Or can we? Maybe I just don’t know the way.

I had not heard of the pilgrims walking El Camino until I read about this film. My hiking goals had always been hiking the Scottish Highlands, trails in Newfoundland and maybe the Appalachian Trail. But when I saw the movie, I knew it was something I would like to try.

The end of the trail, the end of El Camino, is in Santiago de Compostela, “the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region. It’s known as the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, and the alleged burial site of the Biblical apostle St. James.”

The Way has a Facebook page, which appears to be operated by Emilio Estivez, but it hasn’t been updated since December 2015. There you’ll find more personal details about the movie and fan’s reactions to it along with those who walked it because of the movie.

To view the trailer, go here to YouTube.

Although you might find the movie on a specialty TV channel, I couldn’t, so I bought it from Amazon.ca. You can also get it at Amazon.com.

Have you walked El Camino? Are you thinking about doing it? I have started–in spirit–as I keep track of the kilometres I walk weekly. I’ll post a page about this soon.

About Sunday Review

One resolution I made this year was to catch up on my reading. I have almost 250 books on my to-read shelf, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

Reviews are the life blood books, so I will post my reviews on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Goodreads, my Facebook page, Chapters Indigo, Smashwords and here. I may not have a review every Sunday, but I hope to have at least two a month.

Please, don’t ask me to review your book. It will take me three years to get through the books I already have and those that trickle in from one source or another, along with impulse buys.

5,000 Word Evaluation

Are you looking for an unbiased, honest evaluation of your writing? Check out First 5,000 Words Evaluation. [Note: I will be taking the month of July off. My schedule for August is full. I have two openings for 5,000 Words Evaluations in September.]

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16 thoughts on “Sunday Review: The Way (movie)

  1. Reaching out and letting you know this is a movie that I’ll want to see. I haven’t heard of it before! Also, I’m behind on my to-read list too (sigh – so many great reads but how to find the time) ~ Hugs

  2. This sounds like a movie I’d enjoy, Diane. I’m in that age group where I’m feeling that need to let loose and experience the world in a new and daring way. As you said, “test my strength, my physical and mental capacity to see what I can endure. I want to move out of my comfort zone.” Thanks so much for the review – I’ll definitely see it. 🙂

    • Thanks, Diana. I’ve intentionally played it safe the past 21 years because of my kids. Before that, I was all over the placing doing all sorts of things that might be considered risky (such as hiking miles into the mountains alone in winter). Now that I know my kids won’t grow up without a mother because of something stupid I’ve done, I’m willing to risk again.

      I was told by older women–sorry, men, this doesn’t often apply to you–that women have a better time in their 50s than their 40s. The fewer responsibilities along with changes in our bodies make us more daring, up for adventure. I’m not worried about looks–as long as I’m healthy and fit, I’m happy with my body.

      Growing old excites me. As I tell my mother every time she says, “Don’t get old,” the alternative isn’t better.

        • Fitness is the key! I’ve often told others that. It’s not that I’m getting old, but I’m out of shape. There’s a gentleman up the road who must be in his early 60s. He bikes and walks everywhere, and the closest store is about 10 kms from his house. He bikes to work every day regardless of the weather or season even though he has a car. He is fit and enjoying his life.

            • I agree, Diana: the one thing I don’t like about writing is the stationary position. Eventually, I hope to have my laptop on a treadmill, but that won’t be for years. And I am not sure I’d like that all the time. I am considering a stand-up desk. That’s an easier thing to do in my little writing space.

    • In your opinion, Darlene, when would you say the best time to walk across Spain would be? I won’t go at the height of summer–I’ve read several times that it is very crowded then. I was thinking early September, which would put me at the end in mid-October. If what I read is correct, the weather would still be agreeable then. Or would it be better to start in the spring, say mid-May?

      My goal is to go in four years. My youngest will be out of high school by then.

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