Updated: May 29, 2020
Just before leaving to hike the famous Camino Santiago in Spain, my husband and I got off a Sierra trail and sat on a rock overlooking granitic mountain spires and hues of blues in a nearby lake. "It's hard to imagine seeing anything more beautiful than this on the Camino," I said, thinking of scenes in a movie called "The Way."
Before seeing that 2010 feature film, I never paid attention to "The Way," devoting my treks to our wonderful Western trails. But the movie made "The Way" look appealing not just for spiritual qualities, but because each day's journey took hikers to ancient villages where they gathered to eat local foods and drink the region's wines.
The story by director Emilio Estevez emphasized a conviviality among hikers that rings true. I especially like a flash of a scene where the woman in the group looks aside as three guys stand with their backs to the camera, doing their business at the side of a road. Next shot: they all stand facing the camera, serving as a visual blockade while she does the same.
No big action moment with bears or psycho killers, just the kind of thing that really happens on the trail. "The Way" proves a low-key project, ignoring sex and violence and instead looking at a slow growth that happens by taking a break from rigid schedules and predictable days. Granted, I never felt quite like Martin Sheen's stressed-out workaholic character — after all, my career involves watching and writing about movies, so relaxation comes easily on the job. Nor do I face his inexperience with preparation for hiking point-to-point every day.
Not that I lack any need for self-improvement, but my main goal along The Way involves experiencing more of my favorite things — new people, different places, impressive history, creative food, and flavorful wine. All of those appear in "The Way," perking my curiosity so that once again, I find myself going around the world — because of a movie. "The Way" remains readily available to watch on various streaming services.
This review was originally aired on 9/19/2019.
You can listen to it online at https://www.kunr.org/post/way#stream/0