I had missed The Way when it came to the big screen in 2011. However, I was able to watch it 'on demand' for free on the ShowTime channel.
Author and Illustrator, Mike Friedman, shared his appreciation for this movie with me in the form of this review. After I took some time to watch for myself, I find that 'I couldn't agree more'.
Check out Mike's review for yourself and you may find yourself as enthralled with this movie as we both were.
Warning - this is going to be filled with spoiler alerts. THE WAY is a film written, produced and directed by Emilio Estevez. David Alexanian and Julio Fernández are also given credit as producers.
Thinking men examine the how and what and why of life. This film does its best to capture those qualities. When listening to this film for the first time, I was caught up in the dialogue and that is applauses for the writer. It caught my attention quickly. The second time it happened to be on cable TV. The story line caught my attention. I stopped what I was doing and sat and watched.
It was not long before the film began to take on a ‘follow the yellow brick road’ atmosphere. One of the clever subtleties was that Martin Sheen, playing Thomas Avery the father, took on the roles of the brave lion, a scarecrow with a brain, and a tin man with a heart. That did not leave any of the familiar parts for Deborah Kara Unger as Sarah, James Nesbitt as Jack, Yorick van Wageningen as Joost, Emilio Estevez as Daniel Avery, and Tchéky Karyo as Captain Henri.
The story-line is simplicity itself. The metaphor of the road is transparent from the beginning. There is even a scene where we are hit over the head with it in case we missed it. Tom Avery clashes with his adult son when his son makes a life choice to quit school and go out and experience life.
The son Daniel, played by Emilio Estevez, finds out how harsh the world can be when he suddenly loses his life in the Pyrenees. The authorities contact Tom, and he sets off on the tragic responsibility to France to retrieve his son.
The setting of the film is the Camino de Santiago. It is the road that many pilgrims take in their search both for religious meaning and to "find" themselves. Tom in his struggle with the unbearable pain of his loss, journeys down the path of the Camino de Santiago that his son had set out to travel. Tom has his son cremated and plans to scatter his ashes along the way.
On the road, Tom finds himself with fellow travelers, a young woman, a man from Amsterdam who loves food, and a sports writer from Ireland fighting to find his way back to his craft. This unlikely foursome, each carrying their troubles begin to form a bond along the quiet of Camino de Santiago through Spain.
The metaphor that struck me the deepest is when a teenage gypsy boy in Spain steals the backpack. Tom had set his backpack down outside of a pub, with Daniel’s ashes inside. There is a chase, but the young man outran his pursuers. This to me represented the gypsy spirit of Daniel. He had turned his attention away from his Master’s Degree (perhaps anthropology) to go experience life. His gypsy had stolen his life. There is a scene where the four attend a gypsy gathering. The music is loud, and the spirits of all in attendance lift. There are smiles on the face of each of the travelers.
This is a quiet film. It is filled with bottled up love. It did not make a lot of money. I think money was not the only thing that motivated the story, filming, and distribution. It is a film with a lot of class.
Thanks, Mike. You happen to be friend and a writer with a lot of class. And I must say that you write a compelling review...
Couldn't help but finish up today's post with a classic..."My Way" by Frank Sinatra.
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