A former coworker rattled off to me a list of movies he found to be enjoyable, that I might also enjoy. "The Way" was one of the movies in his list.
As an apostate Catholic and unabashed atheist, I wondered whether I would get anything out a movie, where the primary protagonist, Tom Avery, decides to honor his deceased son Daniel, by walking the El Camino de Santiago, a thousand-year old religious pilgrimage route. Nevertheless, I put aside my reservations and watched the film.
"The Way" quickly drew me into its story. I shared Tom's grief upon learning Daniel had died in a storm, just one day after starting to walk the El Camino, and then felt Tom's resolute determination to complete the five-hundred-mile walk on behalf of Daniel. As the story unfolded, I realized Tom's pilgrimage was a symbolic effort to give meaning and closure to his son's death.
"The Way" gave me a roller coaster of emotions: laughter, sorrow, tears, frustration, and finally happiness and joy. I felt for Tom and the other characters in the film, and cared about what happened to them. What more could one ask of a movie?