The Reel Corner

If you take the commercialization piece
out of the holidays, they can be truly inspirational.

Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez (father/son duo)
Written and Directed by Emilio Estevez

The Way is a drama dealing with universal themes of loss, community, and faith. It follows American Dr. Tom Avery (Sheen), who goes to France following the death of his adult son who was killed in the Pyrenees during a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago (The Camino), a Christian pilgrimage, also known as the Way of St. James. Tom's initial purpose is to retrieve his son's body. Once there, he decides to walk the same ancient spiritual trail as his son, completing the journey as a combination of dealing with his grief and paying homage to his son. His hope is to gain a better understanding of his son.

While walking The Camino, Tom meets others from around the world-all broken and looking for greater meaning in their lives. Expanded to three men and a woman from his singular journey, the group travels through the breathtaking scenery of The Camino. (For a quick moment, I saw parallels and wondered if this could be the adult, present-day version of The Wizard of Oz.)

Through the course of the pilgrimage, Tom, and the others in the group, have moments of crisis and catharsis, which seem to bring them closer to understanding both themselves and each other. By the end of the journey, the four come to find the love, charity, and community for which they were seeking.

Inspired by Estevez's son, who took part in the pilgrimage with his grandfather, Martin Sheen, in 2003. At first targeted to be a documentary, this film evolved into a very sensitive script. Our local Coligny Theater has extended its stay.

Maybe you too will be inspired this season by this film. 3 stars

A conversation with Diane Fornari, my sister and local Hilton Head resident, who walked The Camino:

In 2001, Diane and three hiking friends walked the 100km pilgrimage as depicted in The Way.

The Reel Corner:
In general, what did you think of your journey of The Camino?
Diane: We have hiked for more than 20 years in the USA and abroad. Of all the excursions, this was the most memorable.

The Reel Corner: Why did you choose this hike?
Diane: It offered us the opportunity to combine our hiking enthusiasm with our interests in Spanish art, history, and religion.

The Reel Corner:
How long did it take you?
Diane:The walk, as I recall, about eight days.The most we walked in one day was about 16 miles.

The Reel Corner:
What type of guide or support did you have for your trip?
Diane:Ours was somewhat of a self-guided tour. However,it did include the advantage of having oureating and sleeping arrangementsset up for us, and  the additional advantage of having our bags transported daily from one  accommodation to another. The guide also set up the itinerary that enabled us to enjoy special happenings and sites along the way.

The Reel Corner:
Did the movie The Way show the pilgrimage as you remember it?
Diane:I felt that the description of The Camino was explained well through the script. The setting was authentic. I recognized several scenes and enjoyed viewing the places we missed; the characters started at the beginning in France, whereas we began in Leon, Spain. In our experience, we also encountered people from many different countries. Each person had his/her own reason for making the pilgrimage, just as in the movie.

The Reel Corner:
Do you think I could walk The Camino?
Diane: Absolutely!

Donne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived around the corner from the Orson Wells Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. She was a 12-year member of the Hilton Head Second Sunday Film Society, and frequent visitor to the Sundance Film Festival. To support her habit of frequent movie going, Donne is an executive recruiter and staff development consultant. Are you interested in joining a film club? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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