Reel Corner - June 2023

Re-release of The Way

June 2023 Issue
Reel Corner by Donne Paine

Re-release of The Way


The WAY (2010)
Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez
Directed by Emilio Estevez

A father heads to Spain to recover the body (ashes) of his estranged son who died while traveling the Camino de Santiago ( The Way of Saint James) and decides to make the pilgrimage himself.

After a two-year journey to gain back the rights to The Way, Emilio Estevez arranged with Fathom Events to re-release the film nationwide last month on about 800 screens. The effort has led to not only a chance to dust off a 12-year-old film, but also to start work on a sequel.

Partly inspired by the book Off The Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route Into Spain by South Carolinian Jack Hitt, the film was scripted and directed by Estevez. The film stars Estevez’s real father, Martin Sheen, while Estevez plays a small role of the man who dies while making the pilgrimage called El Camino de Santiago, also known as “The Way of Saint James.”

The tomb of Saint James was discovered circa 820. This event was immediately followed by the creation of a sacred place to venerate his remains. Today, twelve centuries later, The Way of Saint James pilgrimage, which represents a unique experience in our globalized world, became a significant spiritual and cultural focal point for Europe, turning Santiago into a major pilgrimage site. The Way, or “The Camino” has acted as a true pathway of knowledge.

In the film, Sheen takes over the effort to complete the pilgrimage with his son’s ashes in tow and experiences the meaning of walking along this ancient path. His understanding grows deeper through chance encounters with people he meets along the way. The longer he walks the path, the more this journey changes him. Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt, and Yorick van Wageningen also star in the film.

Rick Steves, travel guru, partnered with Estevez to discuss the backstory and travel requirements of a pilgrimage and its meaning, which has brought much interest to that part of the world. And, Northwestern Spain is beautiful and quite pristine, filled with friendly people and wonderful food.

To be considered an official pilgrim of The Camino, one must complete a minimum of 124 kilometers (77.05 miles) of the path via walking, biking, or horseback riding. Coming out of COVID, people are now interested in traveling again and are also seeking out meaningful experiences in their travels. The Way is a fictional account of The Camino, but the pilgrimage is real.

When this film was released in 2010, I became fascinated and intrigued by this journey; it sparked my interest in taking the pilgrimage. So, after a 10-week fitness/walking training program in 2012, my friend, Susan Deutsch, and I walked The Camino. After 10 days walking from Leon (Spain) to Santiago we became official pilgrims of Camino de Santiago.

There are many books and blogs about personal experiences related to The Camino. On a personal note, it was life-changing for me, and I highly recommend it. “Bueno Camino!”


ReelCorner 1219 DonneDonne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived around the corner from the Orson Wells Theater in Cambridge, Massachu-setts, where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. Supporter of the arts, especially films, she has traveled to local and national film festivals including Sundance, Toronto and Tribeca. There is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen. She encourages film goers to support Hilton Head local theaters, Park Plaza Theater and Northridge. To support her habit of frequent movie going, Donne is a vaccine medicine nurse consultant and also the author of 4 Interview Pillars available on Amazon. See you at the movies!

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