Martin Sheen plays Tom

Martin Sheen plays Tom

Film follows pilgrimage across the Pyrenees

For its last film of the 2011 season, the Vernon Film Society will be screening The Way, starring Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez.

For its last film of the 2011 season, the Vernon Film Society will be screening The Way, starring Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez.

The Way is a touching film about the testy but unbreakable bond between father and son, as well as the supportive connections that can form among strangers.

Tom (Sheen), an American doctor, is informed that his son (Estevez) has been killed in a freak accident on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James, in northern Spain.

Upon arriving in France to collect his son’s belongings, Tom has a change of plans and embarks on the 800-kilometre pilgrimage in an attempt to honour his son’s memory.

Along the way, he encounters several eccentric travelers, each with their own issues. Their apparent weaknesses frustrate Tom, yet the farther they travel together, the more they come to form a surrogate family unit, supporting each other through their various tribulations.

Set against the actual Camino de Santiago, The Way, like all great road trip movies, depicts how travelling through an unknown land can lead to greater self-knowledge and understanding.

Through Tom’s unresolved relationship with his son, he discovers the difference between “the life we live and the life we choose.”

The pilgrimage is familiar to many local people in Vernon who have already trekked the route, stayed in the large dorms of the refugios, and have brought home their experiences to share with family and friends. To some, it’s just a long hike; to others, it’s a deeply spiritual journey which like Tom, changes their perceptions and beliefs.

It’s an appropriate movie for the time of year when we start to look back over the past year and look forward to a new year just around the corner.

The Way is really a gift from a son to his father.  Sheen, gradually revealing a man painfully getting reacquainted with long buried feelings, gives the film its bruised heart,”  wrote film reviewer Peter Travers, with Rolling Stone magazine.

The Way will be shown at the Vernon Towne Cinema Monday at 5:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and one week ahead at the theatre and the Bean Scene for $7.