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Movie Review: The Way…

06/10/2011

“Life is a pilgrimage. The wise man does not rest by the roadside inns. He marches direct to the illimitable domain of eternal bliss, his ultimate destination.”  Swami Sivananda

Movie Review: The Way... The Way Poster...

The movie ,’The Way,’ to be released in theaters on October 7th, directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father, Martin Sheen, and a cast of humorous characters, is the poignant and inspiring story of how one man, determined to honor the spirit of a loved one by finding a way to cope with the tragic loss of a son, reconnects with others and finds himself. The film tells the story of an American ophthalmologist, Tom, who travels to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to identify and collect the body of his only son, Daniel (Estevez).

“Religion points to that area of human experience where in one way or another man comes upon mystery as a summons to pilgrimage.” Frederick Buechner

Movie Review: The Way... The pilgrimage route...

Daniel, 40 and an anthropologist, had embarked on a pilgrimage to walk the famous and quite real 800km Camino de Santiago, known as The Way of Saint James, as a way to see the world and make sense of what he described to the his father as (the) difference between “the life we live and the life we choose.” Unfortunately, Daniel is killed in a storm in the Pyrenees and Tom is left contemplating his own mortality.

The story takes a new turn when Tom decides to follow the historical path and complete the challenging pilgrimage on foot. With no prior preparation, and only Daniel’ s backpack and personal effects as a guide, Tom sets off to finish the journey and pay homage to Daniel’s adventurous spirit. He connects with three kindred spirits; fellow pilgrims who help him come to terms with his pain. Throughout the movie, we meet other pilgrims who share their story; the dialogue is crisp, the characters are 3 dimensional, and the storyline moves along nicely in a believable and touching way.

“Pilgrimage to the place of the wise is to find escape from the flame of separateness.” Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Movie Review: The Way... Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Movie Review: The Way... The Pilgrim Passport with the necessary stamps

The movie follows Tom along the pilgrimage route, intersected with shots of other pilgrims on their way to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, and captures the determination, reasons and excitement the pilgrims feel about walking the Camino de Santiago and the journey ahead. In numerous beautiful and expansive shots, the audience gets to see the picturesque landscapes of the French countryside.

There are rest stops along the way where the pilgrims stop for food, a bed, and a stamp in their Credencial or pilgrim’s passport – an important document showing proof of the journey and needed if the pilgrim wants to receive a compostela, a certificate of completion of the pilgrimage. The rest stops are private host homes and public hostels run by eccentric and memorable characters and these scenes add humor to what could essentially be termed a serious movie.

“To let friendship die away by negligence and silence is certainly not wise. It is voluntarily to throw away one of the greatest comforts of the weary pilgrimage.” Samuel Johnson

Movie Review: The Way... The four friends paying final respect to Daniel's ashes...

Along the way, Tom meets three key characters; Joost, an overweight man from The Netherlands who is on the pilgrimage to lose weight so he can fit into a favorite old suit for his brother’s wedding. Sara, who terminated her pregnancy, left an abusive marriage and is dealing with the anger and angst of it all, and Jack, a writer from Ireland who is suffering from Writer’s Block and hoping for a miracle on the pilgrimage. The film gives Tom and his new found friends ample opportunity to interact, commiserate and even celebrate the return of Tom’s bag after a young Gypsy boy steals it, is made to give it by his father who then invites the foursome to a joyful Gypsy party.

To avoid adding more spoilers, I would say that Tom completes the pilgrimage with his three new friends and many others and does something wonderful at the end. While most of us will never have the opportunity to walk such a path, and contemplate our lives and all that has shaped it, we can appreciate the power of the pilgrimage. It is  a deeply spiritual experience and one I would recommend to take.

On a final note, the experience forces Tom to look at his life and decide to travel more and see the world. The Way is definitely an excellent heart-tugging, thought-provoking movie and worth a go see.  The Cinema Source.com gave advanced movie screening complimentary tickets to its members. TY! What are your thoughts? Did you see this movie? What was your experience and did you enjoy it? Have you been on a pilgrimage? Do share? Thank you! 🙂

This fits nicely with the WP Daily Post prompt for 10/13/2011: Write a review of the last movie you saw.

Positive Motivation Tip: Life is a a journey with endless possibilities for pilgrimages; ways to connect with self, spirit and others… Follow your way.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos The Way poster, The Cathedral, Pilgrim passport, via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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39 Comments leave one →
  1. 06/10/2011 9:37 pm

    Well Elizabeth that is certainly one I shall look out for, but it might be a couple of months away for me. Thanks for the review. It’s always good to see a movie that has been recommended by someone you trust.

    Like

    • 07/10/2011 5:28 am

      I agree with your sentiments. It may also be a while before it is out here.

      Like

      • 11/10/2011 6:14 pm

        Keep it in your to-do file. When it comes to Australia do see it. I was moved by the underlying message and the beautiful scenery… TY! 🙂
        My only disappointment is that when I checked the WP tag for movies, my post wasn’t included on the movies page… I’m a bit baffled. I thought our use of tags automatically got our posts included in the selected category… Shame really!
        Dear Matt, Que pasa? 😦

        Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:10 pm

      TY Judith and you won’t be disappointed when you get to see it… quite a touching movie. TY! 🙂

      Like

  2. 06/10/2011 9:37 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful movie.

    A bit like The Malabar Princess, one of my favourite movies, about a young boy trying to discover how his mother died in the French Alps, and coping with the loss.

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:16 pm

      Haven’t seen the one you mention but yes, it was a wonderful movie and I hope they do well in the box office. It was not a big budget movie and the family wanted to make this a story to remember with simple yet gorgeous scenery and plausible characters. TY! 🙂

      Like

  3. 06/10/2011 9:47 pm

    Sounds like a beautiful film. I would like to do the pilgrimage some day.

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:17 pm

      Tis beautiful… and I’d love to go on that pilgrimage too. The walking is a killer but with the right shoes and company, it should be fun. TY! 🙂

      Like

  4. 07/10/2011 12:17 am

    pilgrimage to walk the famous Camino de Santiago is a cult in Europe, there are many books and movies about that – very often with a humorous concept …

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:18 pm

      Yes, I believe so as the movie showed that most of the pilgrims were Europeans, with a relatively small American contingency. TY! 🙂

      Like

  5. 07/10/2011 4:00 am

    Sounds like a good movie. I admire Martin Sheen’s work and life. With a script written by one son about the loss of another son probably has, on more than one level, a good deal of meaning behind it–a vehicle that Martin can dig his teeth into. Nice Fall weather–enjoy!

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:20 pm

      Terrific observation and yes it was a family affair. Apparently, Emilio was inspired to do the movie because his 19 year old son, Taylor, had been on the pilgrimage… Great story too. TY! 🙂

      Like

  6. 07/10/2011 5:37 am

    Life is a journey . . . not a destination.
    The Way teaches us The Way as the path unfolds before us.

    Sounds like a good movie. Thanks, E!

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:21 pm

      It sure does teach us to stay open to the promptings of the heart and the lessons learned on the path. I’d see it again. TY! 🙂

      Like

  7. 07/10/2011 6:22 am

    “The Way” sounds like an amazing film and I hope it makes it to the UK

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:22 pm

      It was unpretentious and thought-provoking. I enjoyed it very much. TY! 🙂

      Like

  8. 07/10/2011 7:21 am

    Sounds interesting movie.I agree with “Life is a a journey”.
    We are on our way to our goal.

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:23 pm

      Each day brings us closer to our understanding of our journey… I loved this movie. TY! 🙂

      Like

  9. 07/10/2011 11:43 am

    Sounds like a really great movie. Thanks so much for introducing it here! I will be on the lookout for it here in Sweden. :p

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:23 pm

      I hope you go see it when it arrives in Sweden. You’d enjoy the simplicity and beauty of the message. TY! 🙂

      Like

  10. 07/10/2011 12:43 pm

    I am definitely looking forward to seeing it. Thanks for the review Elizabeth.
    b

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:24 pm

      TY Barb! I trust you’d enjoy it… Gorgeous movie and message. TY! 🙂

      Like

  11. 08/10/2011 12:17 am

    Sounds like a great movie! Thanks for the heads up 🙂

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:25 pm

      TY Lian and hope you see it too… How’s the blog going? Left you a message there recently? TY! 🙂

      Like

      • 11/10/2011 10:35 pm

        Yes I saw the message, left you a reply there too 😉 I hope to post something this week. Thanks for checking in on me 🙂

        Like

  12. 08/10/2011 7:16 am

    This gave me chills throughout the story. I know a mother who lost her only child, a daughter at age 20. I think this film would be an extraordinarily moving experience for her. Thanks, Elizabeth. As usual, you seem to guide my path in an angelic like way… ❤

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:27 pm

      TY Karen, it is now in the theaters and you can let her know to see it. It might be wise to go with a friend as it is as heartrending as it is beautiful. TY! 🙂

      Like

  13. 08/10/2011 11:33 am

    I saw a review (very favorable) of this movie in Entertainment Weekly this week, and was immediately drawn to it. We will definitely be on the lookout for it in our area. It sounds wonderful. I have long been familiar with the “Way,” because of the cathedral at the end of the pilgrimmage – one of the most accoustically perfect places in the world, and know throughout the music world as a place to visit. I wish I could. Maybe some day. I would love to take the pilgrimmage. What a journey that would be.

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:28 pm

      Hope you’re feeling better Paula? I would love to see that Cathedral too and wouldn’t mind taking the pilgrimage if feasible… Loved the movie. TY! 🙂

      Like

  14. portugaluntouchedtoday permalink
    08/10/2011 12:39 pm

    Today I completed the second stage of the coastal walk from the Sé Cathedral in Porto to Santiago. Our journey today lasted 25 kms and began in the town of Vila de Conde and finishing in Esposende. It was an absolutely amazing walk through beautiful beaches, small vegetable farms almost on the beach, seaweed collection for manure until we reached the towns of Fão and then Esposende. We were 98 people who enjoyed a wonderful day out in the fresh air and sunshine and I will, very soon, put up all the story with photos on my blog http://portugaluntouched.wordpress.com.
    I will look forward to seeing this film when it comes to Portugal. Thank you.

    Like

    • 10/10/2011 1:03 am

      TY too for sharing part of your journey with us. I look forward to seeing your post and pictures… Congratulations on your effort. Will stop by your blog soon too. 🙂

      Like

  15. Freedom, by the way permalink
    10/10/2011 6:03 am

    Thank you for the review. I will most certainly try to see it.

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:30 pm

      Hey Freedom! I’ve been thinking of you lately and planned to stop by and check in… Life has been hectic and my health troublesome. Glad to see you here. Do see the film when it comes out. TY! 🙂

      Like

  16. 10/10/2011 12:40 pm

    This sounds like an excellent, thought provoking movie. I’ll be looking for it! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • 11/10/2011 6:31 pm

      You are welcome Cecelia, I do hope you get a chance to see it… Quite thought-provoking. 🙂

      Like

  17. 23/10/2011 8:28 am

    One to watch out for. And particularly interesting for me as walking the Camino is one of my lifelong dreams.
    Life really is a beautiful, wonderful journey.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. The Coastal Walk from Porto to Santiago Compostela – Part 2 | Portugal Untouched
  2. Musings: A Bundle Of Ideas… | Mirth and Motivation
  3. The Blog Farm | Memories: The Longest Walk…

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