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.