The Way is a new movie written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father Martin Sheen in a very inspiring story that will touch your soul. The Way is a story that begins as a father learns of his son’s passing at the start of a pilgrimage in France and Spain called El Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James). The Camino is a 400 mile hike that goes from the Pyrenees in France to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella in northeastern Spain where the remains of Saint James are buried. This journey is the most popular pilgrimage with Catholics, but is taken by many believers and non-believers in Christ. There are a number of Caminos, and this movie takes the popular French route.
Martin Sheen plays a grieving father (Tom) who only plans to pick up his son’s remains, but ends up on a life changing experience that will take him hiking across beautiful countryside and meeting up with three companions who are also at stages of life’s challenges. The three companions all have their own issues to also resolve on The Camino, and the three actors do a wonderful job of interplay with Tom as they all struggle as fellow pilgrims towards a goals of redemption, fulfillment, and forgiveness. This film is filled with drama, humor, and spirituality, and has a very positive message that should be appreciated by all audiences–even if you are not religious.
I was a bit upset that this film was not playing near me in Central Virginia, but maybe it was appropriate that I make a 1.5 hour drive or pilgrimage of my own to see this excellent film and found it worth the journey. It may have been God’s providence that on my drive home, I got to listen to an interview on the Busted Halo Show with Father Dave Dwyer on my XM Satellite Radio with Martin Sheen and Emilio Esteves. Emilio Estevez was inspired to make this film and dedicate it to his grandfather who is from this part of Spain. Emilio wrote the script to this film while working in his vineyard enjoying his hobby of making wine. Emilio made this movie with real 16mm film giving it more of the feel of a old-style documentary, and is done along the famous villages and hostels along the path of El Camino. I was moved to hear that despite poor weather forecasted during filming, Emilio said God was looking out for him as they ended up having great weather. They almost were not able to get the final part of the film done in the Cathedral in Santiago, but there too he prayed, and his prayers were answered to get the filming he needed to complete the movie.
I commend Emilio and his father Martin for the unique way that they also marketed this movie. They took to the road with a bus tour and had screenings and an exhaustive pilgrimage to share this across the United States. I know that they stopped at Virginia Tech and showed it to 3,000 students and also went to Washington D.C., and had an interview on EWTN with Raymond Arroyo, and many other stops across the nation and earlier in Europe. Emilio, Martin, and his family deserve kudos for making such a wonderful movie and I encourage you to see it soon. You too might want to put El Camino de Santiago de Compostela on your bucket list after experiencing this movie.