“The Way” is an inspirational story about the personal transformations that take place while pilgrims hike along Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. The movie is a wonderful depiction of a pilgrimage and the spiritual side of hiking.
Check out the Trailer for “The Way” on YouTube.
Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the pilgrimage in order to complete it for his son.
An inexperienced trekker, Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, each with their own hopes and fears and looking for greater meaning in their lives: a Dutchman (Yorick van Wageningen) who says he’s just hiking to lose some weight; a chain-smoking Canadian (Deborah Kara Unger) who claims she’s seeking the spiritual strength to kick cigarettes and an Irish writer (James Nesbitt), who is suffering from a bout of writer’s block.
Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, The Way was filmed entirely in Spain and France along the actual Camino de Santiago. As the drama unfolds, we walk with the characters as they experience the highlights of the ancient way of St. James through medieval villages and the quiet countryside.
The four pilgrims walk and talk, challenge and support each other on what is a very long hike fraught with physical, mental and spiritual struggles. Through Tom’s unresolved relationship with his son Daniel, he discovers the difference between “the life we live and the life we choose.”
The Way also points out that whatever the reason pilgrims choose to walk the Camino, they often find, as their predecessors have found for a thousand years, that they embark on the Camino for one reason and find another, deeper and more personal reason along the way.