My wife and I recently watched the movie The Way. It was a profound and entertaining film – touching on topics of spirituality and religion (or the lack of), pilgrimage and personal redemption, death, life, loss and and in turn healing, renewed hope and our need for community. Refreshingly unlike most Hollywood films I’ve seen it presented the story of one man’s reluctant spiritual journey as he is freshly grieving the loss of his estranged son who dies on the famous Camino de Santiago de Compostela or ‘The Way of St. James‘ which he begins in France.
The Camino de Santiago de Compostela is “…a collection of old pilgrimage routes which cover all Europe and all have Santiago de Compostela in north west Spain as their final destination.” A journey of deep significance for the past 1000 years, tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims and other travelers walk along the Camino de Santiago each year. (source: here and here)
Written and produced by Emilio Estevez and starring, among others, himself and his father Ramon Antonio Gerardo Estevez (more commonly known as Martin Sheen). Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez (father and son in the movie) clearly have a very dysfunctional relationship but after his son’s death the father mourns his loss and in seeking to honor his memory journeys towards a changed way of life.
This is a beautiful film- both visually and emotionally stunning as Tom, the grieving father, journeys on pilgrimage with his son’s ashes, stumbling headlong and unwillingly into community with an international mix of jaded but sincere (and amusing) fellow pilgrims who are all on their own search for peace. With a fair mix of humor woven throughout it was both sobering and highly entertaining – and honestly sparked our interest in the idea of taking a pilgrimage of our own. This movie is an absolutely must see- no seriously -go rent it this weekend and watch it with a few friends.