Film / The Way

The Way is a 2010 drama starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son, Emilio Estevez, who also makes small cameo appearances.

While on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in the Great Pyrenees Mountains of France, Daniel Avery is struck dead in a storm. His father, Tom, goes to retrieve the body to give Daniel a proper burial back home... and then decides to make Daniel's mission his own.

Along the way Tom meets Dutchman Joost, Canadian Sarah and Irish writer Jack, who each have their own reasons for walking The Way. They discover things about themselves and truly bond with each other, despite having differences.

It's currently available on Netflix.

This work provides examples of:

  • Big Fun: Deconstructed. Joost is the friendliest and most party-oriented member of the group and insists that eating local cuisine is part of the journey. However, he's doing the journey to lose weight in order to fit into his old tux, and he mentions that his wife won't sleep with him anymore because he's gotten too fat.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Subverted; Daniel (who wasn't planning on dying) had no plans for his ashes, and it's Tom who takes it upon himself to complete the journey for him, against the advice of others.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Sarah is incredibly abrasive when she first meets Tom, but warms up after spending time with him and Joost
  • Domestic Abuse: Sarah's husband beat her frequently, explaining her initial Jerk Ass demeanor. She even aborted her daughter to keep him from having two women to abuse.
  • Freestate Amsterdam: Averted. Joost wants to enjoy himself and make sure his companions are also having fun, but the hardest stuff you see him do is overindulge on wine. It's said he has some stuff on him but the only pills he shows onscreen are a couple of Ambien he offers Tom because the hostel they're staying at is filled with snorers.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: Reconstructed. Jack has been trying to break his writer's block and wants to write Tom's story... but he finds it difficult to talk Tom into it.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Discussed but averted. Joost mentions wanting to see the Running of the Bulls, but it's not happening at the time they're in Pamplona.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Tom finishes the Camino and walks even further to scatter his son's ashes by the sea. But while his friends go home, Tom realizes that he's been missing something in his life and continues traveling. The film's final shot is of Tom happily walking in a North African marketplace.
  • Missing Mom: Tom mentions that his wife's death was the start of his and Daniel's estrangement.
  • Muse Abuse: Discussed when Jack asks to write about what Tom's been through and Tom reacts angrily. At one point he mentions that he could always just write it anyway with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.
  • National Stereotypes: Occasionally played straight - the druggy Dutchman, the cheerful Irishman - but the Canadian is abrasive and the American is The Stoic.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Tom, who disapproves of Daniel's journey, gets a message from Daniel but can't call him back because his son doesn't own a cellphone. The next time he hears about him is when he hears of his death.
  • Parting Words Regret: One of the last things Tom said to Daniel was expressing disapproval over his journey.
  • Posthumous Character: Daniel is shown in a couple of brief flashbacks, and Tom imagines seeing him a few times along the walk.
  • Real-Life Relative: Emilio Estevez as Martin Sheen's son
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The group stops by a house thinking that it's an official stop where they can get food and shelter. But upon seeing that the the owner is an absolute lunatic, they run out as fast as they can.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Martin Sheen's character has his backpack, which also has his dead son's ashes, stolen by a Roma (Gypsy) boy. Though the boy gets away, his father drags his son back to return the pack and complains that his people have a hard enough time being smeared as thieves without his stupid son proving the stereotype true. To make up for it the father invites the pilgrims for a get-together, where he advises Sheen's character to go an extra distance to a seaside church to honor his own late son and has his thieving son carry the pilgrim's pack for him to the city limits as punishment.
  • The Stoic: Tom. The death of a son will do that to you.