I’ll admit right now that one of my favourite parts of going to a movie theatre is seeing the trailers for upcoming films. I can’t remember what movie I went to see when I first saw the trailer for The Way, but I do remember how I felt sitting in my seat, watching the preview for a film I knew would change my life.
I was already three years into planning my Camino when The Way was released in 2010. Starring the father-son team of Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, the film tells the fictional story of Daniel (Estevez), and his attempt to hike the Camino de Santiago. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes in the Pyrenees, killing Daniel just days into his trek. His father, Tom (Sheen), flies to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to collect his son’s remains, subsequently deciding that he will finish the pilgrimage in honour of his deceased son.
Spreading his son’s ashes along the way, Tom slowly releases his anger and frustration and falls into the role of pilgrim. He eventually becomes accompanied by Joost from Amsterdam (played by Yorick van Wageningen, and my favourite character in the film), Sarah the Canadian (Deborah Kara Unger), and the crazy Irishman, Jack (James Nesbitt). This quartet of peregrinos hike the pilgrimage route as a group, each in search of their own answers.
Estevez not only wrote the screenplay and directed the film, but in a way it also acts as an homage to his father’s motherland — Galicia, the region in which the city of Santiago de Compostela is found. I love this facet of the film as it probably inspired Estevez and Sheen on many levels during the movie-making process.
The Way is currently available on Netflix, so watch it while you can. Who knows, maybe it will also inspire you to take a leap of faith and hike the Camino de Santiago yourself?