The Way

February 19, 2012 2 Comments

While the theaters this week continue to focus on the current Oscar picks (in preparation of next Sunday’s Academy Awards) and even the DFT is busying itself with another round of Short Film Oscar Nominees (last week’s “must see” choice) we are left without any new compelling movies to experience……… but wait!!!!!!!!!!  On Demand screening and the most recent DVD release of  “The Way” offers an opportunity for a worthy film experience until the new movies start lighting up the screens.

“The Way” is a sweetly moving  road film directed and written by Emilio Estevez, starring his own father Martin Sheen.  Tom (Sheen) is an uptight golf-playing ophthalmologist somewhat estranged from his only son Daniel (Estevez) who has opted out of his graduate studies at age 40 to “see the world.”  Daniel dies at the beginning of a pilgrimage to “The Camino de Santiago” and Tom must travel to Europe to retrieve his son’s body and bring it home.  Instead, he impulsively decides to finish the month long journey himself, carrying Daniel’s ashes with him.  This is not a plot driven movie.  Tom is a man of few words and most of them (at least initially) are harsh and bitter.  He meets fellow pilgrims (a gregarious Dane, a bitter Canadian and a garrulous Irishman) on the “road” and they begin to form a “together” which will transcend them as much as the breathtaking scenery of the journey.  Not original, right?  Exactly.  The tone of the film is non-ironic and presented with its sentiment unapologetically.  Estevez’s sincerity might seem naive to some (this will be accentuated by the sound track that features James Taylor and Alanis Morrisette).  Even the pilgrims are aware of the overused metaphoric nature of their trek…but they are stilled compelled to finish..as are we.

The connection to the therapeutic process will certainly move those of us involved in psychotherapy from either side.  The powerful effect of sharing earnest words with another traveler, despite the vulnerability of doing so, feels real.  The ups and downs of relationships and the disappointments and damage we occasionally inflict on those we care about is captured straight up as Tom struggles to connect with the memory of his dead son and re-connect with the living .  This is the kind of film that is easy to dismiss because it refuses to hurry its journey (the film lasts 121 minutes) or apologize for its feeling.   So grab your hiking boots and head for the Pyrenees…and see you at the Oscars!!!!   Jolyn Wagner

Must See Movie of the Week
2 Comments to “The Way”
  1. Dave Lundin says:

    I was very moved by “The Way.” If you’ve ever wondered what if anything your life meant, suffered a loss of an important relationship, and in the process been down on yourself, you can identify with these characters on their month-long journey. Although the pretext was a religious pilgrimage with a history spanning hundreds of years, it really was more about a great and successful group therapy experience.

  2. Bruce Russell says:

    I’ll try not to understate my view: I hated The Way. The film was Way too long. The dialogue Way too trite. The problems along The Way, and their resolution, Way too contrived. The ending Way too predictable. Do I recommend The Way? No Way!

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