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All Critics (19)
| Top Critics (9)
| Fresh (17)
| Rotten (2)
Six travelers traverse hundreds of miles along Spain's famed Camino de Santiago by foot in Lydia B. Smith's genial documentary, which gradually reveals itself as part travelogue and part spiritual quest.
The result is a travelogue with self-help bromides, or an Esalen workshop with blisters.
Walking the Camino is easy on the ears as well as the eyes and inspiring to the soul. It may even prompt you to skip the subway and walk home from the theatre - the whole way.
Though some of the pilgrims have deeper, more developed personalities than the average reality show contestant, their rough edges are smoothed out by the film's banal benevolence.
Smith allows these people to speak their minds, and, as the journey progresses, the talk, not surprisingly, becomes increasingly depth-charged.
As travelogue, this is a persuasive introduction. Viewer beware: The impulse to take a hike is strong. Wear sturdy shoes.
Walking the Camino makes me wish I could walk it today. It could be a promotional film for the Camino but I think it works even for people who are unable to make that 500-mile pilgrimage because we are all on a journey, we are never finished.
As a film, it may lack both the documentarian's detachment and a overarching narrative concept... but there is no denying the heartfelt sincerity of the entire undertaking.
The cast are well-selected and good company as they dish up bumper-sticker wisdom gleaned on the road...
It's not hard to see the appeal of the Camino, in its simplicity and potential -- even if Smith's film can depict only aspects of the experience, and isn't able to explore its after-effects.
Walking the Camino works on a far broader level than just depicting a physical experience. It grapples with religion, personal growth and introspection, and does so with a humble curiosity that's indicative of the pilgrims themselves.
Why they've decided to make this journey, whether they'll make it, and what it will mean when they get where they're going are questions that pull us along, every step of the way.
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