Is it possible to make a
movie about religious faith — why it works for some people, why it
doesn’t for others — that explicates the matter in ways that
anyone can appreciate, even if they don’t agree with it? Can a
movie about spirituality be inclusive rather than divisive? Yes. Hell
yes. Writer-director Emilio Estevez has pulled it off with his very
powerful and deeply moving The Way, and I say that as someone
who is not at all religious, as someone who is if fact actively
disdainful of religion.
Martin Sheen is a mourning father who travels
from California to France to collect the body of his adventurous son
(Estevez himself, in a few brief yet touching flashbacks), who died
in an accident at the beginning of the Camino de Santiago, an ancient
500-mile hike/pilgrimage through rural France and into Spain.
It’s as if Estevez has updated
The Canterbury Tales for the 21st century and made an
on-the-road movie for our existentially confused times, in which
grief and understanding and acceptance aren’t always about losing a
loved one but also about figuring out what is worth hanging on to,
metaphysically speaking, and what is worth letting go of.
Miraculously (pun intended), Estevez has captured a sense of
spirituality as a universal human experience that is as robustly
physical and carnal as it is cerebral, and one that does not
necessarily have to have anything to do with the supernatural. Grade: A
Opens Oct. 21. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.