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Film Review: The Way

December 28, 2011

Martin SheenWhat is it that brings people to God, for some it is a death of a loved one, for another the break up of a relationship, for another the a failing career or perhaps the realisation of an unfulfilled life? This is the experience of the characters who are walking the Camino Frances, a pilgrimage which begins in St Jean Pied de Port, France and finishes in Santiago de Compostela, Spain about 780km later. The physical walk is of course the metaphor for the four pilgrims as they work through their own internal struggles seeking to overcome their inner demons and difficult personal histories.

The story follows one man particularly, Tom and American ophthalmologist, who travels to France to bring back the body of his dead son who died early on in his own walking of the Camino. Estranged from one another in life, Tom seeks to understand his son better in death, by following in his son’s footsteps over the French Pyrenees. Along the way Tom makes new friends, realises his own mistakes, gets to know his son better and re-establishes his Catholic faith. The people Tom meets though each have their own stories and reasons for walking the Camino and these add to the narrative and bring their own challenges and surprises. Sarah, a Canadian, seeking to escape from a life of abuse and the termination of her child, and using the giving up cigarettes as her reason for her trip, is joined by the jolly Joost, a ‘fat Dutchman’, supposedly intent on loosing a few pounds but really escaping the collapse of his marriage and followed up by the ‘mad Irishman’ Jack who has lost his faith and his talent for writing. For all four of the pilgrims, the Camino, will be a challenge not only to their feet but much more importantly to their lifestyles and to their awareness of God.

This is a film for all, religious or not, Catholic or not, seeking or not, for all people find themselves on a journey asking the big questions of ‘why am I here’ and ‘what is the meaning of life’? For all of us have our personal histories, including things we would rather forget, situations we wish we had never been in and choices we wish we had never made and in the film as well as in real life God is calling us to turn around and begin the journey back to Him. Similarities of course with the story of the prodigal son parable of the Bible but also with the ‘Wizard of Oz’ accept of course in this case the Wizard (God) turns out to be real and not merely a man pulling levers behind a curtain. By the time the pilgrims reach the end, Sarah can find sanctuary and forgiveness within the cathedral, Joost can fall on his knees as he discovers his faith, while Jack having refused to enter churches because of the abuse he has seen in his homeland, enters the cathedral and weeps as he comes back to God. For Tom too, the pilgrimage has had a profound effect, reconnecting him to God and to his son and giving him a release from the numb complacency of his comfortable American lifestyle.

This film reminded me too of my need to keep engaging with God, to keep bringing Him the baggage and messiness of my life, to keep walking my own pilgrimage through life, following His calling and directions so that I don’t go astray. My prayer is that I keep remembering these important truths and that you too will be inspired by the story of four people who are seeking God on the Camino trail.

You can find out more about the film here!

Have you seen ‘The Way’ or been inspired by another film, book or story if so do leave your comments below!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2011 5:20 pm

    I have heard about this film from a friend but not seen it yet. You have inspired me to find it! It sounds wonderful. Thanks for posting.

    • December 30, 2011 10:22 am

      Thanks Lynne, do pop back and let me know what you’d thought when you’ve watched it 🙂

  2. December 28, 2011 6:20 pm

    Nice review Mike and the plot seems really interesting.Gonna watch it soon…Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the movie.


  3. TheChronicR permalink
    December 30, 2011 8:33 am

    I haven’t heard about this film before but it does sound interesting. Very intriguing. Indeed a film for all to watch. Thank you for the review.

    As for your question, the movie “2012” has got to be an inspirational one for me. As for books, Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” did it for me.

    • December 30, 2011 10:23 am

      Thanks John for your recommendations and comments, I’ll have to check them out!

  4. January 1, 2012 7:30 am

    I haven’t read nor watched this Mike but this is definitely worth one’s time. I could imagine the journey that brought them altogether towards God. Almost similar to Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage as they tread the same path.

    Plus it is very significant today. I long to watch such kind of movies that motivates and inspires 😉

    • January 10, 2012 7:36 am

      Thanks Melissa, I haven’t heard of the one you mention but I’ll look it up. I hope you had a great day and allowed God to inspire you 🙂

  5. January 9, 2012 7:26 pm

    Sounds like a great film for getting a spiritual discussion going. I’ll have to look into this. Hard to keep up with all the movies coming out, but these types of things are so helpful in connecting spiritual concepts to where people are at. Thanks for posting this!

    • January 10, 2012 7:38 am

      Thanks Mikel, I think it would be the perfect film for starting a discussion for Christians or non-Christians alike! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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