Saturday, February 25, 2012
The Winner is The Way
A collaboration between long-time Hollywood stalwarts Emilio Estevez and his father Martin Sheen. the movie tells the story of a California opthalmologist who travels to Spain to recover the remains of his son who has died on the first day of backpacking across northern Spain along the ancient trail known as El Camino, or The Way, to the cathedral of St. James. The Martin Sheen character, distraught and sick of the pretensions and emptiness of his Southern California golf club life, sets out to complete the journey to honor his son's memory and perhaps to find a reason to live for himself. On the way he befriends an odd assortment of pilgrims, all on the path for personal reasons. The three month journey draws them together despite their differences, as they learn to overcome their personal and cultural ticks. Each of them has a different stance on the faith necessary to finish their respective hikes, but each is touched and changed in an important way by the end. It's a sort of quasi-documentary riff on the Wizard of Oz theme, with an over the hill, grumpy, but quintessentially Martin Sheen-like American innocent as Dorothy. The main character is of course the pilgrimage itself -- the beautiful Basque country and the baroque, fantastic cathedrals of Burgos and Santiago de Compostela. I can't say it's the winner of any particular category, but anybody who sees it will feel like they've won.