In keeping with my pilgrimage theme, I am being a rebel (or a self-directed thinker) and choosing a movie that was not on the MKE movie review list. But I can still do the same homework. The Way is a story about the Camino, and all the elements are there.
In this movie, Martin Sheen plays a father (Tom) whose son perishes just as he is starting the Camino de Santiago. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but you can probably guess that Tom decides to walk the Camino since his son cannot.
Our homework was to see how the movie fits in with the Master Key Experience materials, specifically the four habits that Mark always talks about.
the four habits
Along the Way, Tom is grieving as he is learning. When you walk the Camino, your Definite Major Purpose, or DMP (and everyone else’s) is to walk to Santiago de Compostela, but of course there is more to it than that. Though at first his reason (DMP) is just that he wants to do the Camino for his son Daniel. However, as Captain Henri of the St Jean Pied de Port police says, “You can only walk the Camino for yourself.” So Tom must find his own reasons. In doing so, his life takes on new meaning.
While walking the Camino, the Plan of Action (POA) is very simple. You get up, you walk, you eat, you wash, you sleep. Then you get up the next day and do it all over again. Tom did not have a clue what he was getting into when he started to walk, but he soon learned the simple lessons of the Camino.
Tom does not start with a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). In fact, he is quite negative, and feels a lot of guilt over his relationship with his son. But the Camino works it’s magic and Tom’s attitude slowly improves, with the help of his MasterMind Alliance (MMA).
Tom gathers his MasterMind Alliance (MMA) as he walks. There is Joost from Amsterdam, Sarah from Canada, and Jack from Ireland. Other characters touch his life as well, but the four pilgrims form a Camino family. This ‘Camino family’ concept is an integral part of almost everyone’s pilgrimage. Tom’s friends walked with him, annoyed him, questioned him, challenged him, and ultimately accepted and loved him.
And then I just noticed in the picture of the movie on the right: “Life is too big to walk it alone.” Perfect!
The hero’s journey
I feel that I should also talk about the Hero’s Journey as it applies to the movie ‘The Way’ as it also fits into that profile. If you need more information about the Hero’s Journey, refer to my previous Blog Post: MKE Round 3 – The Hero’s Journey on Pilgrimage
Tom is just a regular guy, an ophthalmologist who likes to play golf and doesn’t have a great relationship with his son. His call to adventure comes in the form of a phone call from Captain Henri, informing him of the death of his son Daniel. Captain Henri becomes a mentor and guardian as Tom starts his journey into the unknown.
The three friends he gathers as he walks – Joost, Sarah and Jack – help him through challenges and temptations. Supernatural aid is ubiquitous on the Camino (Camino magic, ‘the Camino provides’ and so on). In this movie, Supernatural Aid comes as Tom keeps seeing his son (played by real-life son Emilio Estevez, by the way) as he walks through northern Spain.
Tom reaches his lowest point in Burgos when his backpack is stolen. This leads to an additional guide from an unlikely source, who challenges him to continue to walk to the sea.
Transformation comes to Tom as he walks, just like all pilgrims are transformed along the way. Not only does he deal with the death of his son and atone for the guilt of their relationship, but he changes his own life.
It was a pretty cool movie. Sure it was sappy, and predictable. But heartwarming as well. After the first time I watched it, I couldn’t wait to walk the Camino myself. So I should warn you – if you don’t want to leave your comfortable life and become the hero of your adventure: Don’t watch this movie!