Monday, February 6, 2012

Catching Up with guest Blogger, Steve Head

Happy new year. Before talking about a wonderful film, I need to do a little housekeeping and report on my 2011 goals. Happily I did finish the second draft of my murder mystery and am taking a breather before the next assault. Unhappily, my plans to lose weight was not successful. So a resolution for 2012 is to exercise more and eat less as well as healthier.

Shortly before the holidays I was able to see Emilio Estevez’s The Way. This is a father-son film, appropriately Emilio is the son and Martin Sheen is the father. In the opening, we learn 40 year old son Emilio has died during a freak accident on the first day of his pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago from southern France and into northern Spain. This leads widower Sheen to the Pyrenees to identify and claim the remains of his son.

In a flashback we learn on the drive to the airport father does not approve of son’s dropping out of graduate school and going to Europe with an open agenda. When asked why he no longer travels and explores, father replies it is the life he has chosen. Son replies, “You do not chose a life, you live a life.” The weight of this exchange haunts the father who decides to be the legs for his son on the pilgrimage, carrying his ashes in a tin box.

Of course this decision involves obstacles, unexpected side trips, and some funny moments. To give it depth Sheen picks up three companions, each with their own reasons for making the pilgrimage. And did I mention the brilliant scenery we are treated to of the Pyrenees and Spain?

This film could easily have been a gut-wrenching moralizing test of viewer endurance, but it quite the opposite. Sheen’s convincing portrayal and Estevez’s delicate handling of the material makes this a ‘must see’ film. Like many of the books and movies I review, this film is for those able to tolerate cursing and adult themes. Happily there is no graphic violence or nudity. Although there are a few scenes that just might bring a tear or two, so bring some Kleenex.