The Way

Bottom Line: A fantastic and understated movie about faith and family, as seen in a man walking an ancient pilgrimage route.

The Gist: Tom (Martin Sheen) flies to France to tend to the affairs of his grown son (Emilio Estevez), who has died accidentally. Tom is shocked to find he was walking the ancient pilgrimage route of the Camino Del Santiago, from France to the Spanish cathedral where Saint James is believed to be buried. Tom decides to finish the pilgrimage, meeting other seekers along the way.

The Verdict: Watch it. This excellent movie explores faith without corniness or easy answers. Each pilgrim along the route is seeking something, but each is confused as to why they chose such an ancient practice in modern times. Acting out faith sometimes feels silly or pointless, but each finds some sort of answer when they discover what their question really is. Read my conversation with father/son team Sheen and Estevez.

Be Aware: Rated PG-13 for some thorny themes. Appropriate for teens.

Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez on Faith and Family

Martin Sheen in "The Way."

Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez brimmed with excitement as I met them in a swanky Georgetown hotel to discuss their passion project, the new movie “The Way.” Written by Estevez and starring Sheen, the film tells the story of a lapsed Catholic, Tom (Sheen), who walks an ancient pilgrimage route through France and Spain after the sudden accidental death of his son (Estevez). As he meets up with other modern day pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago, they form a small community of faith. The only thing the band of pilgrims has in common is a deep inner need and a lack of clarity on why they took on such a seemingly outdated task.

Sheen and Estevez, who is his son, were joined by David Alexanian, a producer of the film. With solid laughter and good hospitality, Martin Sheen played host, genially asking me if he could bring me a soda and lounging comfortably on the suite’s sofa while Estevez spoke softly and passionately. Clearly both men feel strongly about this project, about working together, and about the love they share for film and deeper questions of faith. Fortunately, I loved the film as well and was moved by its quiet focus on faith. I highly recommend it.

Here is our conversation about filmmaking, faith, and the power of family. [Read more...]

Martin Sheen talks about his Golden Anniversary with Wife Janet

Martin Sheen and his wife Janet, photo from 2002 via Architectural Digest

Today, actor and activist Martin Sheen celebrates fifty years of marriage to Janet Templeton. I talked to him during the summer about his movie “The Way” with son Emilio Estevez, an excellent film still in theaters. He had this to say about his wife:

“She’s the only truly honest person. She tells you the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, all the time.”

When I asked him how he made it so long in Hollywood, of all places, where marriages are measured in hours and days, not years, he said:

“Honest to God, I don’t know. I adore her. I didn’t get to know her until we were married twenty years. I didn’t realize what she was doing. She was always smarter with me. She didn’t hit me over the head with it. She just sort of waited for me to mature a little bit. I don’t have a clue who she is. I really don’t. I know who she was at that time or this time. She’s always, always ahead of me.

“With the greatest heart. And the most sensible person. So consistent. So absolutely, totally consistent every day of her life. And extremely funny. She’ll have you laughing. Really, you’ll be falling down laughing.”

Congratulations, Martin and Janet. We should all be so lucky to have such lifelong love, Hollywood or not.

Read our entire interview here.