The Way

Film
3 out of 5 stars
Yorick van Wagerningen, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt and Martin Sheen in The Way
Yorick van Wagerningen, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt and Martin Sheen in The Way

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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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