Saturday, June 8, 2024

Movie Review: The Way, My Way

 Film Number 17 of 2024

The Movie: The Way, My Way

The Cinema: Village Cinemas, The Rivoli

Stars: 4

A few things before I start with the review. 

Firstly, I was hoping to see The Way, My Way at the Deckchair Cinema in Darwin, but by the time I went to get tickets it was sold out. 

Secondly, the Camino de Santiago is very high on my bucket list. And like the protagonist, I can't quite tell you why I want to walk 800 kilometres across the top of Spain, but it sounds like a good thing to do, and I've got numerous friends who've walked it and have said that it's a transformative time. 

Thirdly, this is a bit different to other Camino films, the best known being The Way starring Martin Sheen. 

What makes this film different is that it comes across as a memoir or docu-drama. 

Regardless, I really enjoyed this. 

Very quickly in the movie you learn that Bill (Chris Heywood), a film maker and baby boomer, is a bit of a prick. We learn that while on a motoring holiday with his wife he encountered Camino pilgrims and became a bit obsessed and took the journey on, despite a dicky knee and with no real distance walking experience. 

I think if I'd met Bill on the camino, I'd be giving him a wide berth. Regardless, Bill meets a lot of very different people along the way, from Balacz, who's coming to terms with his wife's terminal diagnosis, the religious Laszlo, who's trying to find himself, the Gabriella, who's inbetween careers, to Laure, who's trying to find some self-forgiveness.

What is really cool is that some of the players are the actual people Bill met on his camino. Oh, and on screen, Jennifer Cluff plays herself as Bill's eminently sensible wife, Jen. 

This movie shouldn't be seen as a documentary, nor a drama. It comes into that strange genre of film memoir.

And other than spending the first half of the film wanting to throw something at Bill and scream, "piss off, boomer," (possibly because he reminded me of a boomer work mate who drove me up the wall) it was great to watch him develop, even if anybody remotely sensible would have packed it in and taken a taxi with this wretched knee.

The film gives a real look about what the camino is really about. And with the scenery, and the complex characters and the stories being told, it's made me want to pack my swag and head for Biarritz to start the journey at St Jean Pied de Port...

I'm saving now. 

Definitely a film for Camino boffins or those interested on the road in front of them. 

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