Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

2/8/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

This is a film that you will want to watch over and over again

"The Way" continues to attract national media attention as the powerful film moves toward its Feb. 21 release on DVD. We were able to talk with Emilio Estevez about the film and his thoughts regarding its upcoming release on DVD/Blue Ray.


By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (

2/8/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Movies

Keywords: The Way, Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Movies, Camino de Santiago, Way of St. James

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - "The Way," written and directed by Emilio Estevez, is the kind of film you need to think about after viewing. Like a fine wine, it has a finish that lingers with you long after the credits have run. This makes it a perfect DVD film to own and give to others as a gift.

Recently, I was able to talk with Emilio about this remarkable film, which carefully connects with you and then carries you off on a journey you are eager to make.

You are joining American ophthalmologist, Tom Avery (played superbly by Martin Sheen - Emilio's father), who loses his son (played briefly by Emilio) through a hiking accident on the historic El Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) in Northern Spain. In reality he had actually lost his son, relationally, long before that. Which leads to the rest of the story.

Rather than return home after identifying the body, Tom decides to embark on the trip himself, following the path used by pilgrims for more than a thousand years, to honor his son's desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn't plan on is the profound impact this trip will have on him both in rigor and relationships. He's not prepared for the physical toll on his body or the emotional toll from the friends he joins along the way. He learns first hand what his son meant in saying, "You don't choose a life, you live one."

Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, each with their own issues and looking for greater meaning in their lives: a Dutchman (Yorick van Wageningen), a Canadian (Deborah Kara Unger) and an Irish writer (James Nesbitt), who is suffering from a bout of writer's block.

As I watched this movie, I was struck very quickly by the impact physically that filming this story would have on its lead, Martin Sheen. I was curious to ask Emilio about this aspect of the project.

"My dad has been doing yoga for about 35 years, long before it was trendy, He's a pretty fit guy; he was game to do the trek and really mix it up. He insisted on doing his own stunts."

There was one scene in particular that I wondered about. Tom (Sheen) lost his pack in a rapidly moving river and went in after it.

"That was his idea, you know," Estevez replied. "When I was developing the screenplay he insisted that the bag should get lost in the river and that his character should jump in after it."

While "The Way" did a really good job of portraying priests and has a positive tone regarding the Catholic faith, one of the devices in the film I questioned had to do with the cremation of Tom's son. He then decides to take the ashes on the journey and distribute them along the way. This concept flies directly in the face with Catholic teaching.

I asked Emilio about this and whether they got any push back from audiences. He indicated that one group, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), had a conversation about this and a few other things just after an early viewing of the film.

He said the discussion he had with FOCUS leaders was very positive. On the cremation subject they said to him, "His character is a lapsed Catholic and wouldn't know Canon Law. Wouldn't this be a wonderful talking point with groups regarding Canon Law and the character's choice to do this?"

Without giving away some great film moments, in addition to the three unique characters who join him, you meet a very engaging Catholic priest who is also a pilgrim. At first, Tom thinks he's Jewish because he is wearing a yarmulke but then discovers he has cancer and this is used to hide a tender scarred area on his scalp.

This was based on a true story. "My father met a priest at Lourdes and the priest was wearing a yarmulke, speaking in a thick Brooklyn accent. And my father said, 'Nice to see you, Rabbi!' and the guys says, 'No, no! I'm a Catholic priest and I had brain cancer and I used this yarmulke to cover the scar because I don't look good in a big hat.'"

Faith plays a big place in the film but it is never "preachy." Estevez said that the two things he wanted people to take away from the film were spirituality and community. He indicated he wanted to stay away from dogma that could divide and wanted to stay with themes that would unite the audience and celebrate humanity.

With the film's release on DVD, I asked Emilio how he felt "The Way" might be used.

"We did this cross country bus tour in the fall and we hit 27 states; we did 50 days out there. The feedback was amazing. Some people had seen it two or three times.

"The feedback seems to be, 'I'm going to buy a copy for myself and a copy for my mom. Retreat centers are asking how can we get a copy of the film so we can screen it for discussion here. Catholic organizations saying, 'We'd love for the film to be a part of a discussion on "The Camino" or about community.

"So I really feel that this is a film that is going to stand the test of time; that, while it wasn't a blockbuster type of film, it will be talked about 10 and 20 years from now. It will be remembered."

"The Way" will be available on DVD beginning February 21, 2012.

Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online ( He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Movies

Jennifer Garner's new Christian film, 'Miracles from Heaven' releases trailer that will make you cry Watch

Image of The 43-year-old Jennifer Garner stars in the lead role, based on the real-life book by Christy Beam


Jennifer Garner stars in the new Christian film, "Miracles from Heaven." Due in theaters by Easter, the film is the real-life story of a Texas mother whose faith is tested when her daughter is diagnosed with a rare disease. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading

Film 'Spotlight' features clergy pedophelia scandal -Vatican Radio hails it as 'honest' and 'compelling' Watch

Image of 'Spotlight' covers the true story of The Boston Globe revealing the American Catholic Church pedophilia cover-up, which led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in December, 2003.


Open Road Films released Spotlight in select theaters on Friday, November 6th. The film centers around the Catholic Church's history with child molestation and cover-ups. It has been received by audiences as an honest portrayal of an important topic in need of ... continue reading

Hilarious sequel promised in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2' trailer Watch

Image of The impending sequel,


"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" released in 2002 became a rom-com classic that earned over $300 million worldwide. With just enough romance for the women and untoward humor for the gents, the original film is a personal favorite of many. The impending sequel, "My ... continue reading

Will Brangelina's new film disappoint in the box office? Critics weigh in Watch

Image of


Lovely to look at - a joy to behold, it is said that the Brad Pitt - Angelina Jolie vanity project "By the Sea" will leave moviegoers cold. A lavish period piece set along the Maltese Coast during the Seventies, "By the Sea" reportedly attempts to be an "art" ... continue reading

Exciting first look at J.K. Rowling's new 'Harry Potter' movie 'Fantastic Beasts' Watch

Image of The new film marks a distinct location change. Whereas


Concluding both the book and film series about boy wizard "Harry Potter," author J.K. Rowling is bringing that fantasy universe back to the silver screen with "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." Based on the book of the same name, the film finds Harry ... continue reading

Never-before-heard SECRETS from the highly-anticipated new Star Wars film LEAKED HERE (SPOILER ALERT) Watch

Image of Giddy android C-3PO returns, albeit with a red arm contrasting to his shiny golden suit of armor. The previous arm is revealed to have been lost in a previous misadventure.


Secrets of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" have been leaked to various press sources, so if you want to keep details of the latest installment a delicious surprise when you see it close to opening day - skip this article! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The ... continue reading

World's first android actress stuns viewers in unexpected ways on the big screen Watch

Image of The Japanese film


The new science-fiction drama from Japan, "Sayonara" features the world's first android actress. Named Geminoid F, the robot can speak and convey emotions but remains ambulatory through an electric wheelchair. The film, while posing questions as to what ... continue reading

Top 5 scary movies to get you in the Halloween frame of mind Watch

Image of When Mr. Boogie pays you call -- you better not dance, but run as fast as your legs can carry. From


It's Halloween, and those not inclined to watch scary movies sit down to watch scary movies to get in the mood. Film critic Mark Hughes offers these recommendations, which he feels are the top five horror films of the past 10 years. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Three Hollywood greats meet in Macau - but not for gambling Watch

Image of Three Hollywood greats - actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, along with superstar director Martin Scorsese met at the Chinese gambling Mecca of Macau - but it was not for gambling.


Three Hollywood greats - actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, along with superstar director Martin Scorsese met at the Chinese gambling Mecca of Macau - but it was not for gambling. The occasion was the unveiling of their new 15-minute short, "The ... continue reading

Old, forgotten films getting new life with on-demand DVDs Watch

Image of


Thousands upon thousands of our nation's motion pictures - a vital part of the United States' cultural heritage, remain stacked high in warehouses at movie studios. Older pictures, from the Silent Era to the Sixties remain unwatched due to what is perceived as ... continue reading

All Movies News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for ...
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in ...
  • St. Saturninus: Saint of the Day for Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 7:15-27
15 'I, Daniel, was deeply disturbed and the visions that passed through ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87
82 Bless the Lord, all the human race: praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:34-36
34 'Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by debauchery and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2015 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, ... Read More