I went to see the new movie The Way this week, and I can warmly recommend it. It’s one of those movies that causes you to ask “How can they make an interesting movie out of that?” Recent examples are Moneyball (statistical analysis changes the way front office executives put together baseball teams) and The Social Network (a Harvard nerd creates a popular website). Like those movies, The Way is gripping. I’m only afraid that it will close before people find out how good it is.
The Way is about four broken people walking the pilgrimage route in France and northern Spain called the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. The central character is Tom Avery, a lapsed Catholic physician played by Martin Sheen, whose son had been killed in an accident at the beginning of the pilgrimage. He’s walking the route in his son’s place. Along the way he’s joined by a garrulous Dutchman, an angry Canadian woman, and a sarcastic Irishman. You can’t call them believers, but you can’t exactly call them unbelievers either. Things happen along the way that are disturbing, funny, sad, and touching–none of it especially dramatic. The drama of the movie is the inner pilgrimage that occurs on the long 500-mile walk. All four had stated reasons for making the pilgrimage. By the end each has a better idea of the real reason.
If you see the movie you’ll probably think about walking the Camino yourself someday. If you’re truly adventurous, think about walking the brand new Camino Ignaciano, a pilgrimage route that follows the journey St. Ignatius took from his home to Manresa after his conversion. Details here.