Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Way to go! While we all know how Charlie Sheen spent his summer, his father Martin and brother Emilio Estevez were (while. I’m sure, worrying about Charlie) preparing to promote The Way, the faith-themed film opening on October 7 starring Martin and written, produced and directed by Emilio (who also has a small but pivotal role).

I previewed the movie yesterday and I can tell it was captivating and featured totally believable and likable characters you’d likely enjoy spending a couple of hours with.  The story follow Tom (Martin Sheen), a California eye doctor and widower who receives a stunning phone call that Daniel (Emilio Estevez), his only son (with whom he had a strained relationship) was killed in a storm-related accident while hiking the Camino de Santiago (aka The Way of St. James) in the Pyrenees, a trail where some say miracles are prone to take place.  When he arrives at St. Jean Pied de Port in France to collect Daniel’s remains he finds himself moved to complete the journey his son started, releasing some of his ashes at key points along the way.

But the movie is anything but morbid as Tom meets several interesting people on his journey, most notably the overweight Dutch drug user Joost (Yorick van Wageningen), an oddly-angry Canadian woman with a dark past  named Sarah (Deborah Kara Unger) and Jack, an Irish writer fighting a bout of writer’s block  (James Nesbitt). None of these people are particularly religious but they all, for one reason or another, find themselves drawn to the trek. And, yes, they are all in need of the healing.

Along the way, this damaged but sympathetic foursome make their journey’s end while learning about each other and themselves. While there are definitely strong spiritual overtones to the movie, it’s not at all preachy. It says what it has to say in the most effective way, quietly.

Beautifully filmed, The Way, written and directed by Emilio Estevez, was shot entirely in Spain and France along the actual Camino de Santiago. Honestly, this movie was so good it should be remembered at Oscar time.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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