The Way - Movie Review

The Way (in theatres now for a limited time)

Starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son, Emilio Estevez this is a heart rendering story of a son and father on a journey through life together. The movie starts out with Sheen getting news of his son’s death while on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route of 800 kilometers from France to Spain. (The Way of St. James).

He goes initially to return his son’s body to the USA, but makes a life changing decision to deciding to continue the pilgrimage himself. Along the way he meets some interesting characters, all on the pilgrimage for different reasons. The movie seems to move a little slow at times, but just soak that in; it is clever directing to put us on the road with Sheen, who incidentally is a very devout Catholic man.

The movie has some real fun in it also, with an “angry with the world” Canadian woman (not many of those to the dozen), an Irishman with writers block (never met one of those myself), and a Dutchman with an appetite for fun, food and wine. On a side note, the movie has a very beautiful father and son story of the movie itself, which was a part written entirely for his father, by Emilio. The love of their real relationship comes through in the treatment and delicacy of the story. A great date night movie!

Enough said, a very nice movie … money and time well spent IMHO.

'Eat Pray Love" from a guy’s perspective. I like Emilio Estevez (huge fan of his movie “Bobby” from a few years ago), but the similarities to “Eat Pray Love” are unmistakable: his real-life dad Martin Sheen searching for life’s meaning. The “angry with the world” woman was the best character in the movie, IMHO. Also, ashes aren’t supposed to be scattered.

I totally wanna see this film…hear it’s great.

I love Martin Sheen as an actor and as a human being. But as for Sheen being a devout Catholic, how do we define “devout”?

Here is what he said in an interview a few years ago about abortion…:

“I cannot make a choice for a women, particularly a black or brown or poor pregnant woman. I would not make a judgment in the case. As a father and a grandfather, I have had experience with children who don’t always come when they are planned, and I have experienced the great joy of God’s presence in my children, so I’m inclined to be against abortion of any life. But I am equally against the death penalty or war-- anywhere people are sacrificed for some end justifying a means.
I don’t think abortion is a good idea. I personally am opposed to abortion, but I will not judge anybody else’s right in that regard because I am not a woman and I could never face the actual reality of it…”

I just saw the movie and the positive role of priests, monks, churches/cathedrals, pilgrimages, rosaries, saints, friendships, what have you, made me love this movie! If there are objectionable things in it, they can be explained easily (or if not easily, they can be a good point of discussion) and are not too offensive.

Here’s a pretty decent review that really digs into the Catholic elements (or lack thereof, as it turns out)

unamsanctamcatholicam.com/fun-stuff/movie-reviews/89-unam-sanctam-catholicam-movie-reviews/movie-reviews/298-the-way.html

Finally watched this on Netflix. From the review cited previously I agree with the overall impression:

The film was not terrible. It just could have been better in so many ways - including more Catholic spirituality would have been entirely appropriate, and demonstrating more of a distinguishable development in the main character would be most important, but also doing away with that horrible spreading the ashes thing as well as the positive depictions of recreational drug use. That being said, it was still an enjoyable movie, and might be worth watching on a rainy afternoon.

I think the reason I’m still ok with it as a movie is because it does show Catholicism from the Easter Sunday/Christmas Catholic perspective. It makes perfect sense that the main character would spread the ashes thinking it was a good thing. Makes perfect sense it wouldn’t occur to him to speak to a priest about whether or not that was appropriate. Also makes sense that overall, it’s probably a good depiction of what many of the pilgrims are like on the camino. I suspect many go just because it’s there, not for any spiritual reason at all. But that IS where the movie could have been more Catholic, showing the work of the Spirit over those who start the trek for the wrong reasons but finishing with a renewed perspective. It was disappointing that Yost opted to purchase the new suit, the Canadian continued to smoke, and the main character ends up giving up his lifestyle to live the one his son was attempting. The writer’s the only one that came away better than he started but that’s because he happened upon a good story.

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