You don’t choose a life, dad. You live one. – Daniel
A film about both loss and spiritual quest, ‘The Way‘ is one of the most moving films I’ve seen this year. It follows Martin Sheen taking a pilgrimage along the El camino de Santiago after the death of his son who was walking ‘the way’ himself.
He is joined along the way by a number of fellow travellers journeying at roughly the same pace, and the film touches on the reasons that all of them are making the pilgrimage. Each of them has their own story to tell, and their own issues that they are either running away from, or trying to examine along the way.
To put this in context, El camino de Santiago is approximately 500 miles in length, taking most pilgrims about 4 weeks to complete. Such a commitment takes significant time, planning and energy to undertake.
Pilgrimage fascinates me. I think this film captures the essence of a quest exceptionally well, and manages to give equal measure to both the challenge of walking the way itself, and the spiritual journey a pilgrim goes on with so much time to their thoughts and meditation.
Whenever I meet someone that has undertaken a journey of this type, I’m always keen to ask them a couple of questions – why they did it, and what they feel they gained by doing it. Everyone has their own story to tell, and everyone seems to gain something different.
The film also contains an absolute gem of a song, which if you’re anything like me you’d completely forgotten about over the last few years. ‘Thank U’ by Alanis Morissette is a beautiful track at a critical point in the unfolding story.
Image credit: Fresco tours.