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Posted on October 9, 2011 by Christine Crosby in Martin Sheen

The Way

Christopher Gildemeister for Parents TV Council

Release Date:  October 7,  2011

MPAA rating: PG-13 for some thematic elements, drug use, and smoking

Starring: Martin Sheen, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt, Yorick van Wageningen

Recommended age: 13+

Overall PTC Traffic Light Rating: Yellow





  Slap, chase, minor struggle, death depicted


“Bitch,” “Christ,” “ass,” “hell,” “damn”


Drug use and drunkenness, brief toilet humor


Daniel Avery drops out of graduate school to see the world, a decision his father Tom harshly criticizes. But when Daniel dies in an accident, Tom discovers that his son was about to set off on the Way of St. James, a Catholic pilgrimage dating back to medieval times. Shattered by his grief, Tom vows to complete the pilgrimage himself, in tribute to Daniel. On “the Way,” Tom finds friendship, an understanding of his son – and a return to his faith.

There is little content of serious concern in The Way. One of the pilgrims Tom befriends constantly smokes marijuana, and offers pot and other drugs to his fellow travelers. At one point, Tom becomes drunk and is wrestled into a jail by police; at another, Tom is slapped by another traveler; and Tom and others chase a boy who steals his backpack. Daniel’s corpse is briefly seen in a morgue. Several very brief scenes imply Tom or others urinating, to humorous effect. Foul language is rare, with the words above used very sparingly, generally only once apiece.

The Way is an outstanding, gentle, and beautiful meditation on life, death, and faith. Though he begins his pilgrimage subsumed in his own rage and grief at his loss, as Tom encounters others, he learns that his fellow travelers each carry their own pain. The Way of St. James becomes a metaphor for life, whether “chosen” or “lived”; and friendship and sharing one another’s burdens truly become the path to healing…and to peace.

Blessed with spectacular scenery (filmed on location in Spain), haunting music, the tremendous acting of Martin Sheen, and a deeply moving story that leads the viewer to reflect on the meaning of pain, love, and faith, the Parents Television Council is proud to award The Way with the PTC Seal of ApprovalTM. Because the film’s themes are unlikely to interest children, the PTC does not recommend The Way for viewers under age 13.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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