The Less Desirables Movie of the Week is The Way (2010), starring Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen and James Nesbitt. The Less Desirables Movie of the Week is brought to you by the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, a/perture cinema.
Per IMDb: “A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El Camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.”
Martin Sheen plays Thomas Avery, an ophthalmologist whose relationship with his son, Daniel (Estevez), is strained, especially since the passing of his wife. Thomas disapproves of Daniel’s beatnik-like lifestyle and the two have an argument as Daniel leaves to walk the Camino de Santiago (also known as the Way of St. James) from the French Pyrenees to Galicia, Spain. A freak storm comes through and Daniel is killed just one day after leaving on the trail.
Thomas has to go identify and claim the body. He has intentions of shipping the body home and being done with it. However, upon reflection of Daniel’s hiking stuff, him memories, his vision, he decides to do the walk himself. He has Daniel’s body cremated and he carries the ashes with him, scattering ashes along the way.
During his trek, he comes across several people who are looking for something in their lives be it reflection, to lose weight, to stop smoking, clearing writers block, restitution. It seems that’s what the Camino de Santiago is all about. On the surface it’s a pilgrimage to a holy location, but it also brings inner peace and tranquility. It’s not an easy trail. That struggle in the walk is part of the healing factor, the reward at the end.
The people include Joost, a Dutchman who’s walking to lose weight; Sarah, a Canadian who’s walking to quit smoking; Jack is an Irish writer who’s walking to unblock writer’s block. You’ll find that those may or may not be the real reasons they’re doing what they’re doing. Whether they all make it there with all their belongings or not, well, you’ll need to watch to see. The film explores community, faith and loss. Those themes are prevalent throughout its entirety.
On a local note, Cary Clifford, local baking extraordinaire has walked the Camino de Santiago. Cary is the owner or Camino Bakery, here in WSNC. I hate that I’ve not gotten the chance to ask her about this, yet. I do know that the name, obviously, comes from her journey. The emblem of Camino is the scallop shell, which shows often in The Way as it is the traditional symbol of the Camino de Santiago. Scallop shells are found scattered along the shores of Galicia.
One day, after my son is out of the home and we have some money to pay for the few months away, The BCPF and I want to walk the trail. The film is sad, funny, heart-warming and emotional. I always get emotional with the loss of a child, film or otherwise as I can’t imagine losing my one and only. The visuals along the way are amazing. The towns, the sights, the experience all seem beautiful but I’m sure, as with anything in life, there are some not-so-beautiful aspects as well.
Rotten Tomatoes has it at 82% Fresh, with an audience score of 83%. IMDb has it at 7.4 stars out of 10. The film was written and directed by Emilio Estevez based on his son, Taylor’s, and dad, Martin’s, experience on it. He also draws some material based on Jack Hitt’s book: Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain. Notice the character, Jack, was a writer. I watched this gem on Netflix and rate it 4.5 stars. Have you seen it? Have you walked the Camino de Santiago? Let us know what your thoughts are. I really, really want to know more about it.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“You don’t choose a life, dad. You live one.” – Daniel Avery (Emilio Estevez)