I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of “The Way”. This “must experience” movie, still gently tugs at my thoughts throughout the day. I have read numerous opinions/reviews of the movie both before and after viewing “The Way” and find that the one thought that keeps coming to the forefront as I read the comments is.…more. More needs to be said about this movie. More people need to “experience” this movie.
From the interviews I had watched or read about “The Way”; there was a slight trepidation as I wasn’t sure I was in the right space for a “message” movie as so many had been describing ‘The Way”. Not even the gentler phrase of “theme” movie took away my hesitance. Yet, when I finally got the chance to take in “The Way”…I didn’t watch a film…I didn’t just see a movie …I had a movie “experience“. I have missed the movie “experience” and am exhilarated at the artistry I was able to immerse myself in that evening.
What I didn’t come away with that evening was any feeling of having watched a “message” movie. Nothing overt and nothing veiled and I knew that others who have hesitated on taking in “The Way” specifically because of that representation of the movie, would instead run to see the movie…if they only knew…More!
Did I see that the characteristics of faith, belief, non-belief, finding what was perceived to be lost within oneself, accepting oneself as they are, being truthful and kind to ones own perceived failures as well as showing the same to others were included within the brilliantly scripted screenplay…definitely. They were all facets of the individual characters layered within the very character of the story….yes….and so much more.
When I heard Emilio recant how much of the movie was filmed in 16MM, I find myself thinking “More…tell them more”! Tell them that even if it had been filmed with an 8MM camera the beauty of the terrain and the way the scenes are shot are so intoxicating that you would still inhale just a bit deeper…and find yourself savoring the sensations or the emotions that caress you as you watch the captivating images on the screen. Tell them that while the screen fills with breathtaking scenery the enchanting music will gently carry you through the perfectly placed pauses…allowing your own thoughts at those moments pull you even deeper into the story with the brilliant use of silence.
I realized that the way Martin describes the movie in interviews is his own “experience” of the movie. I’ve had people describe the movie in so many different ways and have come to realize that no two opinions will be the same because everyone who sees this film will come away with their own individual “experience” of the film.
What do I mean when I say a movie “experience”? You know…the films like “Field of Dreams”, “Pretty Woman”, “Shawshank Redemption”….the films you’ll sit down to watch..again and again. A film that you’ll find yourself compelled to discuss with others…again…and again. A film where the stories within the story and the characters…or maybe just one character…or a characteristic…a conversation…just touches something within you and draws you into the story where you are no longer an observer but a participant. The type of film where one scene will cement itself into your memory the first time you view the movie…and a different scene the fifth time you watch it…or the fiftieth…because a movie you “experience” changes each time you view it ….it speaks to where you are at the moment…in your journey…on that day.
“The Way” is written with beautiful, poignant layers and numerous subtleties. The characters are intricately infused with traits, beliefs, viewpoints, and histories so diverse that everyone will find something familiar to themselves or the people in their own lives.
“The Way” celebrates the perfection within the imperfections of it’s characters and the true acceptance of diversity without judgment. The film respects the individual journeys in each of the characters lives within the encompassing journey of the pilgrimage on the Camino and the myriad of layers contained within that quest alone.
This film is a colorful tapestry created by the intricate weaving of each of the characters unique layers, the breathtaking scenery and the gentle “pauses” within the story that allow you to feel as though you are breathing in the moment and the captivating view at the same time as the characters are. Emilio left enough space in the tapestry of this movie to allow the viewer to place their own thread down to be woven into this masterpiece and to feel the accomplishment, wonder and a deeper discovery of self alongside the characters individual discoveries during their time on the “Way”.
This story is written with so many subtleties. You find yourself thinking from the way a scene unfolds that you are certain how the story will reveal itself next only to turn the corner and the story actually unfolded to a different degree completely. Discovering the intricate weaving of an undertone hidden between some of the layers that you are convinced will be explored…until you realize that the undertone remains just that to make you question long after you left the theater why you were so convinced it would be…more.
Every film that becomes a “movie experience” has a quote that remains in your memory to invoke a smile…a remembrance of how the movie made you feel. Just like the phrase “If you build it they will come” from Field of Dreams or “And he rescues him right back” from Pretty Woman….the phrase “You don’t choose a life…You live one.” will pull at the tiny thread of your experience with this movie and gently…subtly call you back to see where the journey will take you the next time you enjoy the artistry of this film.
Every blockbuster has a scene that becomes a favorite for each moviegoer, whether it’s the far stretching string of car lights at the end of “Field of Dreams” or the moment Julia Roberts character in “Pretty Woman” walks across the lobby of the hotel stunningly dressed for the opera. Everyone will walk away from a movie “experience” with a scene that will remain etched into their memory.
In the movie “The Way” the scene that keeps popping up in my mind often…weeks later…is the poignant, breathtaking scene at the ocean. That moment in the film, filled with quiet metaphors, captured my heart. As I took in the magnificently beautiful, powerful vista before me on the screen I felt as if, I too, could feel the mist of the sea on my own skin as well. I found myself inhaling a bit deeper in an effort to fully embrace the fusion of my own overwhelming emotions in that moment with the poignantly silent emotions of the characters.
I remain excited and filled with anticipation of “experiencing” the movie “The Way” again. This movie leaves you with a desire….for more. There has to be a next time…so many others have expressed that very same thought….you’ll find yourself simply…wanting more of “The Way”. I look forward to discovering the subtleties I may have missed while letting those I did experience wrap themselves up in my own “discoveries” while “experiencing” this beautiful journey. This film will call you back…for MORE!
Will the same scene touch me in the same way or will it be another scene that weaves its way into the tapestry of my own life at that moment? What beauty will I discover the next time that I may have missed from my first “experience” with “The Way”?
I look forward to the feedback from friends and family members who for so long have felt as I do that we rarely get to taste the movie “experience” anymore. Finally…a movie that will satisfy the yearning for a film that will illicit thrills, laughter, tears and moments that take your breath away without the use of artificial special effects. I know each person will have a review/opinion that speaks to wherever they were in their own journey when they first saw “The Way” and that each one will be different. What WILL be the same, though, will be the inevitable desire to “experience” this movie…again…and again.
If I had to sum up “The Way” with only one statement, it would have to be…A beautifully layered journey about love, acceptance and courage. A film “experience” with an independent budget and a blockbuster soul.