Ever since I was younger and found out that Martin Sheen was the father of Emilio Estevez, I always wondered what it would be like to see them in a movie together. It has always been a fascination I had with acting families. The idea of seeing father and son together in a movie somehow made the movie seem more special, like Will and Jaden Smith in Pursuit of Happiness or, to a lesser extent, Ben and Jerry Stiller in Zoolander. So when I heard about this movie, directed by Emilio Estevez, I was intrigued to see what Sheen and Estevez could do together. What I got wasn’t exactly what I expected, but at the same time it was still so very good. Looking back at all the films I watched in 2011, I would have to say this topped my list.
The Story is about an estranged father (Tom) and son (Daniel) that don’t look at the world the same. Tom thinks his son should settle down, start a job like he did, but Daniel wants to live life to the fullest and explore the world. Daniel decides he wants to walk the “El Camino de Santiago” and asks Tom to come with him, but Tom decides he can’t. Daniel ends up dying, so Tom decides to walk the trail to get closer to his dead son.
Estevez and Sheen barely spend any time together, but obviously there is love between them. Once Estevez is out of the picture, Sheen carries the bulk of the film. It takes a skilled actor to pull off the grumpy depressed old man and make him likable but Sheen is able to do it with ease. Along the way Tom comes into contact with a few erratic traveling buddies (Deborah Kara Unger, Yorick van Wageningen, and James Nesbitt), all with their own reasons to be hiking the trail. These others manage to bring some humor and lightness into the film, which greatly helps to make the film enjoyable.
One could almost argue that the real star of this film is the location. Shot on location at different points along “El Camino de Santiago” in France, this film is beautiful. Estevez has previously shown he knows how to create a good film with Bobby, but with The Way he has made a good looking film. After watching this film I can definitely see why Emilio decided to make this, it makes you fall in love with the countryside of France.
Unlike in Bobby, this film has a small cast with a singular story which I think makes for a better movie. I thought Bobby was good, but at times with so many characters and stories Estevez failed to make a connection with all the people. In The Way, it is easy to find a connection with at least one of the members of the hiking party.
With a good cast, director and beautiful location Emilio Estevez has managed to make another good film. Fans of films like The Motorcycle Diaries or Into The Wild, should enjoy this film quite a lot.