I was very excited to finally see a movie that was set on the Camino De Santiago. I hoped it would give a good overview on the trials of walking the Camino while of course the narrative is moved along by the central characters necessary in any drama. Did it succeed? Well yes and no.
The storyline centers around a father walking the Camino in the place of his deceased son and the various characters he meets up with along the way. I'm not going to give away the actual plot here since I don't want to spoil the movie for those who have not yet seen it. As he travels along the Camino various aspects of life on the Camino are gradually revealed to the audience. We see inside a few Refugio's, walk through the forests and spend a little time in some of the towns along the way. Everything is pretty accurate even at the end when the Compostelas are awarded. For those who wish to see an entertaining movie, and also maybe learn something along the way, the film is on the money. An entertaining story and a look at a world you probably didn't know existed.
I don't think however that this film would actually inspire someone to start making plans to walk 500 miles. Perhaps it was the time of year, but to my mind everything looked very bleak. The real camaraderie of the Camino was also missing. Also lacking was the reality of getting up every morning and starting to walk, day after day after day. Where were the aching feet, the absolute exhaustion at the end of some days, even the problem of doing laundry? It seemed that these people never had any of those problems; every day was just another stroll in the park in fresh clothes for them.
I did enjoy all the philosophical discussions about what makes a true pilgrim. Can you go on a bike? Can you stay at a nice hotel? Why are you walking? The competition among the pilgrims from all over the world is always quite amusing. Also I enjoyed the history of the Camino a walk that has inspired people for over a thousand years. To wake up every day and walk the path taken by millions of other pilgrims is quite inspiring.Watching the movie I did get a thrill when I saw the sites I had seen along The Way.
There are plenty of scenes showing the various churches and cathedrals but very little showing the charming villages and the warm hearted locals. Even Pamplona is dismissed as a disappointment, just another town, let me tell you it was quite beautiful.
So overall, if you want an entertaining movie, this is just fine. If the movie peaks your interest then please check out the Camino and if you have a trip like my wife and I then it will be one of the highlights of your life.