Emilio Estevez’ “The Way”

Now a movie star: the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

If you can, you should go to see this film. It is the story of a man who decides to become a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago after his son dies whilst doing exactly the same. In a sense, it is the usual theme of the “journey of discovery of oneself” & Co, but this time it is different because the Way of St. James is not just another journey.

It seems to me that Estevez could have had a heavier foot on the Catholic gas pedal, and one can easily imagine the long discussions meant at having a product that would not put off non-Catholics and be a product interesting for everyone. I had the impression that the main theme of the movie was, so to speak, made shallow and not given due importance.

Still, you get a lot of things that are not everyday’s fare in today’s cinema productions: rosaries (two times, though briefly); a Catholic priest that is neither a pedophile nor an idiot and, in fact, a thoroughly good chap; a short but explicit pro-life scene; various tribute to French and Spanish traditional religiosity (the statues of the Blessed Virgin on the road, say) and, in the end, a clear tribute to the greatness of the Catholic Church and the faith of the Christians (I won’t spoil the film, I’ll just say: a) on your knees, and b) giant thurible).

The movie is authentically unnerving only on one occasion, and I won’t tell you what it is. For the rest, I can imagine that this movie will gently move many lapsed Catholics to start thinking about the sacramental life again, and will certainly instil in non-Catholics without prejudices a rather healthy curiosity.

Still, it seems to me that an occasion has been lost, in the sense that the movie could and should have been more overtly Catholic without losing its appeal for the masses, or better said gaining on one side what it might have lost on the other.

Be it as it may, already the fact that the Way of St. John has been the object of a movie is a noteworthy event. Kudos to Estevez for his work, then; a work which is also notable for having neither sex nor (real) violence.


Posted on May 15, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Irenaeus of New York

    Thanks for the heads up on this. I did not hear about that film before now.

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