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The Way Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Unafraid of stillness and scenes of quiet contemplation, the film also celebrates companionship and community, which are all good reasons to embrace the experience along The Way.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It's a sweet and sincere family pilgrimage, even if a little too long and obvious. Audiences seeking uplift will find it here.

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  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    There's a contemplative loveliness to The Way, an affecting personal project both for Emilio Estevez, who wrote, directed, and plays a small role, and for his father, Martin Sheen.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Touching movie filled with mature themes, grief, drinking.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Way -- a drama about a father's grief after his grown son is accidentally killed during a journey in Europe -- isn't likely to have much appeal for younger kids or tweens. The subject matter is mature, the action much more internal than external, and the pace is deliberate and reflective. Lots of wine is consumed during meals in the Spanish villages in which the story is set. One scene shows the drunken hero being taken to jail after a loud, angry rant. A principal character frequently smokes marijuana and offers it to his companions. Cigarette smoking is pervasive. A female reveals that she reluctantly "terminated" a pregnancy some years earlier.

  • Families can talk about Tom Avery's journey. What did he learn about his son? What did he learn about himself? Do you think focusing on his physical trip is an effective way to tell the story of his emotional journey?
  • How does The Way portray the cultural role of alcohol use, specifically wine, in the Spanish villages of the story? How is it different from what you see in stories set in the United States?
  • How does this movie deal with stereotypes?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: The Way stresses the healing and inspirational power of travel, friendship, and life's simplest pleasures. "You don't choose a life, you live one."

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: No heroes or villains here -- just ordinary people with lives in progress. This is a positive story about growth, transforming yourself, and respect for others. Flawed and/or struggling characters are shown coming to terms with their own weaknesses, anger, and selfishness. The generosity and open-heartedness of a distant culture (in this case Spanish villagers) is portrayed throughout. 

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: The main character is forcibly escorted to a police station after drunkenly resisting police officers. In other action scenes, he scuffles with a woman, and she slaps him; he also jumps in a turbulent river to retrieve his backpack, and he chases a young thief.

  • sex false0

    Sex: In the background of one scene, a man is wearing a thong.

  • language false1

    Language: Occasional swearing: "ass," "piss," "hell," "son of a bitch," "Christ," and "crap."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: The North Face brand is visible.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Many scenes show weary travelers drinking wine at the end of each day, usually along with a meal. One sequence finds the main character getting very drunk, behaving badly, and ultimately being taken to the police station because of his conduct. A traveler from Holland frequently uses marijuana and offers it (as well as sleeping aids) to others on the journey. A woman smokes cigarettes heavily and talks about the need to quit.