Orthodoxy: Does not adhere to Church teachings
Reading Level: N/A
By Kari Burke ( ) - See all my reviews
A movie worth watching but not for profound Catholic messages or inspiration
It is a rare occurrence that my husband and I put our children to bed early and watch a movie together just the two of us. But, I had heard good things about Emilio Estevez's "The Way" which stars his father, Martin Sheen, as a lonely widower grieving the sudden unexpected death of his only child. So, my husband and I ushered our children off to their respective rooms allowing them to read quietly to themselves while we popped the DVD in and settled on the couch for what we hoped would be an entertaining and inspiring Catholic movie just as we had heard.
As far as being an interesting story with believable and engaging characters, "The Way" did not disappoint. Sheen, who portrayed Tom Avery, an American optometrist who embarks on an impromptu pilgrammage along the Camino de Santiago travelling by foot through France and into Spain in honor of his recently deceased son, is a talented actor who did well in the role. The movie follows him along the real way of Camino de Santiago as he meets new friends, scatters his son's ashes at places of special siginificance along the journey, and mourns his loss quietly all the while. The fellow pilgrams he meets as he walks were vared and eccentric adding a little humor to an otherwise serious film. Avery shares the experience of his pilgrammage with a fun-loving, outgoing, bear of a man from the Netherlands, a sarcastic, independent woman from Canada, and a boisterous and somewhat arrogant writer from Ireland. His new friends accept Avery despite his moodiness and emotional distance from them.
Overall, "The Way" was a good movie, though not a great one. It was entertaining and held our attentnion. The scenery was beautiful, even breath-taking at times. The message of living life to its fullest and learning to accept others where they are came through clearly. However, though obviously main character Tom Avery was experiencing something meaningful and spiritual in his pilgrammage, the movie itself was not particularly spiritual in nature. God was not a focus, nor was the depth, beauty, and tradition of Catholicism . The teachings of the Church were not adhere to or even respected by the characters for the most part and the few moments of prayer and contemplation were somewhat glossed over.
In short, I found "The Way" a film worth watching but would not classify it as a Catholic film. Instead, I would consider it a well done and thought-provoking mainstream movie with vaguely Christian themes and brief positive references to Catholicism.