The Way

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Yorick van Wagerningen, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt and Martin Sheen in The Way

Tom (Sheen) is a California ophthalmologist counting out the weeks until his retirement. Before he can start his days of full-time golfing, however, Tom is told that his son Daniel (director Estevez) died in a storm in the Pyrenees. Traveling to retrieve the body, the grieving father decides to continue the journey Daniel was taking along the Camino de Santiago, a weeks-long walking pilgrimage toward the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. As Tom scatters his son's ashes along the road, he encounters a group of fellow travelers: the outgoing Dutchman Joost (Yorick van Wageningen); the damaged Canadian Sarah (Unger); and a stalled writer named Jack (Nesbitt). While their individual reasons for walking the Camino tend toward the cutesy, Sheen's slow opening up to them isn't; he may finally learn, as Sarah puts it, to "stop to smell the flowers."

And how could he not? The Way's honey-toned landscapes and shots of alfresco meals shared by international pilgrims at rustic albergues are enough to make anyone ready a backpack and head off on walkabout. It works better as an idyllic travelogue through northern Spain than as a familial drama; despite the real-life relationship between filmmaker and star, and the temptation to analyze where a certain other "winning" sibling fits in this equation, this is a film more concerned about late-life awakenings than blood ties.

Follow Alison Willmore on Twitter: @alisonwillmore

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Release details

Release date: Friday October 7 2011
Duration: 115 mins

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