THE WAY, “Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, THE WAY was filmed entirely in France and Spain along The Way of St. James, also known as “El Camino de Santiago.” ” [from the back of the DVD case], stars Martin Sheen, father of the director/writer Emelio Estevez. Its a family affiar of a film including cameos of several members of Martin Sheen’s family.
I LOVED this movie about a grieving father, a fallen away Catholic, who walks the Way for his son. The movie included some interesting people, each struggling with their own pain, who join the main character along the Way of St. James. Together they journey and come to support and respect one another as they meet with situations that bring out the truth of each person’s pain.
The director, Emilio Estevez, uses some truly marvelous techniques to express the emotions of the character played by Martin Sheen. The film is a treat, taking place in breathtaking landscapes and quaint villages. Nothing extraneous distracted from the story and all the elements from the use of the natural light on location to the scenes filmed in inclement weather add to the emotional weight of the tale.
This movie is about healing, and while there are some actions by the Catholic parent, Tom, that are totally contrary to Church teaching, these actions are understandable and consistent with his level of understanding. Along the Way he gradually comes to terms with his own lack of Faith and begins to return to an active Catholicism. The film does not assure us of a return to a soundly orthodox Catholicism, but at least to a renewal of belief and a return to living life fully. There is a naturalness to the main character that has the viewer rooting for him and accepting his imperfections as proof that he is now at the beginning of his very own Way. I, the viewer, found myself wishing him well.
The special features added a lot to the enjoyment of this DVD with materials on the history of the Way itself and on the making of the film. Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen provide a lot of background and point out where other family members were involved in the work. The commentary provided another avenue for enjoyment.
The film holds up well to multiple viewings. Watching it several times straight and then watching it with the commentaries and after seeing the special features has not left me feeling tired of the story. This is a very well told tale and it may get watched again the very next rainy evening when I want to see a good movie with my family.
Small children might find the concepts difficult. The problems of the other characters are more comprehensible for an adult, but on the whole, this film is far better family fare than most of what I have seen recently but it is not a children’s movie. It will be best for teens and adults to share and perhaps will lead to conversations about life.
I highly recommend The Way.
Dear Lord, thank You that talented filmmakers are creating good solid stories like this movie that are uplifting and inspiring. Please bless their further efforts to bring quality stories to life and please bless and inspire more creativity for Your greater glory. Amen.
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