Winter 2012 Features series
Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 4:00pm
Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 7:00pm
Directed by Emilio Estevez
Screenplay by Emilio Estevez
Based on the book by Jack Hitt
Starring Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, and Deborah Kara Unger
Rated PG ·
United States / Spain
Five years after his impressive ensemble biopic Bobby, actor-director Emilio Estevez returns with another ambitious drama that also features his father, Martin Sheen. The Way is a touching film about the testy yet unbreakable bond between father and son, as well as the supportive, familial connections that can form among strangers.
Tom (Martin Sheen), an American ophthalmologist, is informed that his son (Emilio Estevez) has been killed in a freak accident on a pilgrimage in the northwest of Spain along the Camino de Santiago, also known as “The Way of Saint James”. Upon arriving in France to collect his son’s remains and return to the United States, Tom is hit with a profound sense of sadness and quickly changes his plans. Equipped with his deceased son’s guidebook and backpack, he embarks on the 800 km pilgrimage from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in an attempt to honour his son’s memory by finishing what he had started.
Along the way, Tom encounters several eccentric travellers, each with their varied motivations: a gregarious Dutchman (Yorick van Wageningen, Winter in Wartime) wants to lose weight; a Canadian woman (Deborah Kara Unger, Shake Hands With The Devil) hopes to quit her addiction to cigarettes; an Irish author (James Nesbitt, Match Point) struggling to write a travel book. Their apparent weaknesses frustrate the stoic and determined Tom, yet the farther they travel together, the more they come to form a surrogate family unit and support each other through their various tribulations.
Set against gorgeous vistas of France and Spain, The Way, like all great road trip movies, depicts how travelling through an unknown land can lead to greater self-knowledge and understanding. A moving and potent character study buoyed by a great soundtrack and an immensely likable cast, The Way is a journey of self-discovery that follows four very different people as they learn to better love themselves and each other.
“This is not an ‘inspirational film’ in the usual, syrupy sense; none of these people are overtly finding God on this trek. The beauty of the movie, in fact, is that Mr. Estevez does not make explicit what any of them find, beyond friendship. He lets these four fine actors convey that true personal transformations are not announced with fanfare, but happen internally.” – Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times