A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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."
Positive 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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In the background of one scene, a man is wearing a thong.
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Occasional swearing: "ass," "piss," "hell," "son of a bitch," "Christ," and "crap."
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Products & Purchases
The North Face brand is visible.
Drinking, Drugs & 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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This touching film is marked by heartfelt performances from Sheen and a stellar cast. This, along with an inventive, sentiment-free story and the unforgettable beauty of the Way of St. James and the villages and countryside it passes, results in a profoundly affecting experience. Estevez has written and directed a film that feels natural, unforced, and authentic; he takes his time, with lots of it spent on character and the unhurried maturation of its leading man. But The Way is never preachy or slow.
Attention is paid to some of the sacred artifacts and churches along the road, but the movie is more inspiring than religious. Overall, The Way is an engaging film for parents and thoughtful teens that may encourage meaningful discussion.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.