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|Format||Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC|
|Contributor||Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen|
|Runtime||2 hours and 1 minute|
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"The Way" is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends, and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son , killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago,. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son's desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn't plan on is the profound impact the journey will have on him. From the unexpected and, oftentimes, amusing experiences along "The Way," Tom begins to learn what it means to be a citizen of the world again. Through his unresolved relationship with his son, he discovers the difference between "the life we live and the life we choose."
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
- Product Dimensions : 5.4 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches; 2.4 Ounces
- Director : Emilio Estevez
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
- Run time : 2 hours and 1 minute
- Release date : February 21, 2012
- Actors : Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen
- Subtitles: : Spanish
- Studio : Arc Entertainment
- ASIN : B0062VL4QA
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2019
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The movie hits some wrong notes along the Way. At one point, Sheen seems to lose something important. That’s OK, but then he loses the same thing again, which seems like sloppy screenwriting to me. He picks up some traveling companions, each an involuntary loner like himself. Two of them were more interesting than the others, which diluted the story the movie might have told.
By the very nature of a pilgrimage story, I am giving nothing away to say that Sheen ends the journey a changed man. Good feelings provide a suitable finale for a bittersweet journey.
In this case, Martin Sheen delivers a quietly powerful performance as Tom Avery, who must cope with the death of his estranged son Daniel, who was beginning the long pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. Unable to put into words the depth & complexity of his anguished emotions, he chooses to complete the pilgrimage for his son ... and of course for himself. So he sets out, determined to reach his destination as swiftly as possible & find some sort of closure.
"Closure" -- that's an overused word these days, almost a glib & arbitrary cutoff point imposed by a society intent on "moving forward" at all costs. In a way, it's a means of avoiding any in-depth contemplation & exploration. That's what makes this film so honest & heartfelt: it's not about closure, it's about opening up. In fact, Tom Avery's problem is that his whole life has become closed, sealed off; he's so goal-oriented that he can't see the beauty & wonder of the journey itself.
But as he continues on the pilgrimage & unwillingly finds himself gaining three very different companions, Tom does begin to open up. As I said, there's no single shattering epiphany; it's more of an organic growth, a slow realization that there is indeed far more to life than simply getting there. If it's not explicitly a religious theme, it's definitely a spiritual one. I was reminded of Thomas Merton's classic volume "Mystics and Zen Masters" while watching, in that the film is much more about direct & immediate experience than any particular dogma or program. As Teresa of Avila once wrote, "Every day on the road to God is God." And this is just as true for an atheist like myself as it is for a religious believer -- the journey is what matters, and the goal is simply a marker.
I don't want to make this sound too ponderous & weighty. While there's plenty of substance here, writer-director Emilio Estevez never confuses what's genuinely meaningful with the glumly portentous or heavy-handed piety. There's a lot of humor, joie de vivre, and sheer beauty here, both in the gorgeous landscapes & in the evolving friendship of the four travelers. Everything is a reminder that each moment of life is both fleeting & precious, not to be wasted. For those of us who find our lives being eaten away by the minutia of the everyday, which we've come to take for granted as reality, this is something we desperately need to remember!
And is anyone changed by the end of the film? Perhaps not so much changed as more truly themselves, far more knowledgeable & accepting of who they are, flaws & all. The final scene makes it clear that the journey never really ends, not for those who have broken through the walls of the mundane world that we've been taught is so important. Opening up, not closure -- most highly recommended!
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