Movie Review – The Way

| January 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

Martin Sheen is known to be a devout Catholic.  I describe myself and an observant Catholic who aspires to be devout.  So, I went to see Sheen’s new movie, which was written and directed by Sheen’s son, Emelio Estevez, with certain expectation and  some concerns.  My expectations were that it would be a religious movie, since it centers on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago.  I’d never heard of this apparently well know trail along which pilgrims have traveled for hundreds of years.  It is described in the movie in fairly mystical, but not religious, terms.  My concern was that the religious aspect of the movie would be depicted in a smarmy, emotional way.  I imagined this as a bit of a proselytizing project of Sheen, which was supported by the fact that Sheen and his son appeared at Catholic University last year on their promotional tour.  Frankly, I enjoy watching Martin Sheen, but I have seen him in roles that are a bit over the top.

Neither my expectations nor my concerns were realized.  I found it to be a fairly tough-minded movie and the religious message to be pretty subtly delivered.  There is a short, but powerful, clip of a religious service near the end.  But, over the course of the movie, religion is only mentioned in the context of the various pilgrims denying that their trek has anything to do with religion.  And, at the risk of a spoiler alert, none has an overt conversion over the course of the movie.

Still, the movie does have an emotional power.  The story is compelling and most of the characters are likable.  The movie carries you along because you care about them and are anxious to see where they end up.  The story is familiar as you watch the characters start out fairly hostile to one another and gradually evolve.  But I found the acting very good and their individual transformations believable.

So, I would recommend the movie and may go to see it again.  It was an enriching experience that had great credibility for me in its intellectual honesty.


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Category: Movies, Religion, Uncategorized

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