By Jonathan Sargeant
The topic of making a pilgrimage, a kind of sacred journey has come up in conversations around me a lot recently. The themes underpinning those chats reminded me of this movie, The Way, released in 2011 and starring Martin Sheen and his son, Emilio Estevez. It's all about the Camino.
It's a great film, worthy of repeated viewing and reflection, so I thought I'd bring it to your attention if you didn't catch it the first time around.
Here's the synopsis and some other details...
Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor 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, also known as The Way of Saint James. Driven by his profound sadness and desire to understand his son better, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage, leaving his "California bubble life" behind. Armed with his son's backpack and guidebook, Tom navigates the 800 km pilgrimage from the French Pyrenees, to Santiago de Compostela in the north west of Spain, but soon discovers that he will not be alone on this journey.
While walking The Camino, Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, all broken and looking for greater meaning in their lives: a Dutchman (Yorick van Wageningen) a Canadian (Deborah Kara Unger) and an Irish writer (James Nesbitt) who is suffering from a bout of "writer's block." From the hardship experienced along "The Way" this unlikely quartet of misfits create an everlasting bond and Tom begins to learn what it means to be a citizen of the world again, and discovers the difference between "The life we live and the life we choose".
The Way was filmed entirely in Spain and France along the actual Camino de Santiago.
You can find The Way on various streaming services, probably through your local library and on DVD at the usual places.