You might think this is will be a simple movie review but you’d be wrong. If you follow this blog you know I’m a walking paradox and this post is no exception. I watched the movie The Way this evening. It had been a difficult day, a week in which I’ve been ill and off kilter, and so I opened a bottle of wine after a late dinner and the night research reading to watch this movie. Why? Someone long ago had told me I would enjoy it and get something out of it. It seems like a long time ago I received that recommendation and it must have been as I can’t remember who suggested I watch it. If this post seems a bit philosophical you can blame the vino.
The movie stars Martin Sheen but is written and directed by his son Emilio Estevez. In this there is a common thread with the movie for the plot is about a father who makes a pilgrimage, one started by his son who was killed right after he started. It is about a trek across the El Camino or Way of St. James from the edge of France across Spain. Whoever suggested this to me was right, I got something out of it.
The movie itself is well-done but with these stars/directors you would expect as much. It is really a simple film in the concept and what makes the film so appealing is the humanity of it. On some level, anyone watching this should be able to relate to it. If you think it is a religious themed movie due to the walk itself you would be wrong. As one character puts it, “religion has nothing to do with it.” How right they were.
It got me to thinking though – which is dangerous enough. I like treks although I can’t say I’m a big camper or the type to tackle Mt. Everest. This path itself probably doesn’t interest me although there is one hiking path which I won’t reveal that is on my bucket list and I hope in the next couple years to give it a go. I may have to do it in parts because of the time involved but I really want to give it a go.
Watching this movie though had me waxing philosophical as I watched the father deal with his son’s death on the trek and interact with others making the trek for various reasons that included the religious, death, love to just doing it to say they did it. No matter, whether you are religious or even if you have no religion, isn’t our time here just a trek in itself?
We attempt to give our existence in this life deep meaning but I wonder if we aren’t simply on a trek where maybe we have a silent purpose to ourselves but the most important aspect is our interaction with others and the things we experience, learn along the way. If you believe in life after-death then the shortness of our lives is truly that of a short hike. If you don’t believe in life after death then it is all that much shorter. If you believe in reincarnation then each turn is itself a different trek, on a different path, entitled to different lessons and experiences and interactions. The universe is huge so what more is planet Earth than a way station along the way? Our dimension is one of many so our breaths are just brief inhales in a series of ongoing versions of ourselves.
The Way is a good title for this movie for no matter our walk of life we travel the way at the speed and openness we deem fit. A great line from this movie was, “You don’t choose a life, you live it.” How we live it will be different from everyone else and yet still have a ring of familiarity for we are all hoisting a pack on our shoulders, navigating a path laid out before us that we know eventually ends but without clear expectation of who or what we will encounter next. Even more mysterious is what the overall goal is. If I don’t see you along the path, meet you at the next way station.