Monday, April 16, 2012
The Way is most certainly a “message” film. But don’t let that scare you or deter you from seeing it. It’s a message we are all living one way or another. This film is about a journey and finding meaning and purpose in life. We are all trying to do that. The Way is a family affair featuring father and son: Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. Sheen holds down the main acting role while Estevez serves as actor, director, producer and writer.
The premise or idea for the film was inspired when Estevez’s son, Taylor, began a pilgrimage on the Carmino De Santiago. Some call it the “Way of St. James” in which pilgrims began a walk which starts in France and continues for several hundred miles to a massive cathedral ending in Galicia, Spain. The reasons for the pilgrimage is as diverse as the people who take the journey.
After arriving in France, Thomas makes the decision to cremate his son’s body and decided to finish the pilgrimage for his son. Walking the way, he plans to spread Daniel’s ashes along the road. Perhaps, it’s a way for Thomas to reconnect with his son in a way he couldn’t do in life.
At first, Thomas isn’t exactly looking for company. But soon, the four form a community and begin their quest. As the journey continues, it requires each pilgrim to examine his/her motivation and the real reason they are on this walk. Each of our characters may have a stated reason, but the truth is something altogether different. They all are looking for meaning and to make sense of life. The way of Carmino De Santiago is a personal journey, but our characters cannot do it alone. Perhaps, that’s one of the most interesting themes of this film. Our healing is tied to the journey and to community.
People have been making this pilgrimage for nearly a thousand years. The film as well as the walk is about loss, community, faith, and restoration. It’s a powerful film, beautifully shot and photographed. No question, it was a labor of love for both Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. The crew and the actors had to walk several kilometers to make this film.
If there is one line in the film that would sum up the entire journey, it would be this: “We don’t choose a life. We have to live a life.” Perhaps that’s the real secret behind the entire purpose of the Way of St. Thomas. Maybe the journey teaches us how to embrace and live life to its fullest while at the same time we connect with God in a more meaningful way.