An uplifting amble in ‘The Way, My Way’; A fine new version of ‘The Three Musketeers’; Family fantasy film ‘IF’ doesn’t quite land

Taking steps: Chris Haywood in ‘The Way, My Way’.

THE WAY, MY WAY ***1/2 (100 minutes) PG
Driven by latter-day doldrums and the urging of his good lady wife, aging filmmaker Bill (played by Chris Haywood) walks the famous Camino de Santiago trail in Spain in a wistful, unassuming road movie that gets better as it goes along.

Though in search of nothing in particular – or, at least, nothing that he can properly articulate – Bill encounters an odd, invariably friendly assortment of folk of all ages who unwittingly contribute pieces of a puzzle he wasn’t aware he was solving.

Based on his 2013 memoir, writer/director Bill Bennett builds an increasingly engaging character portrait of a man whose random access to fellow travellers helps him overcome self doubt and lack of direction.

His connection with one troubled young woman and two elderly walkers is especially touching; his initial abhorrence of too much headroom in photos gradually gives way to a more relaxed attitude, neatly reflecting his shifting perspective of life.

The journey appears as a ramble but slowly takes form as Bill nears his destination and brings new meaning to that lovely old cliche about how every ending is really a new beginning.

Comparable in spirit to the fine 2010 Martin Sheen film The Way (directed by son Emilio Estevez), The Way, My Way clocks in as a modest, finely etched, uplifting Australian film that – broken record time – is unlike to enjoy much of a run in cinemas.

THE THREE MUSKETEERS PART 1: D’ARTAGNAN *** (121 minutes; subtitled) M
The umpteenth movie adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s classic 1844 novel gets a good, if stern, going over in a handsomely costumed production starring French acting veterans Romain Duris and Vincent Cassel alongside young’un Francois Civil as D’Artagnan.

Fans of Richard Lester’s two rollicking funfests The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974) will no doubt be a bit disappointed at the lack of humour deployed here – one wonders how Dumas would have reacted to his adventure yarn being taken so seriously – but the venture is nonetheless entertaining.

(This is the first half of a two-parter. The Three Muskateers: Milady is due 6 June.)

IF ** (104 minutes) PG
In exploring the fantasy world of imaginary friends, writer/director John Krasinski (A Quiet Place; Jim from The Office) delivers a decisively tepid, underwhelming attempt to capture the magic of early Pixar.

Eager to leave childhood behind, Bea (Cailey Fleming) is a kid on the verge of teendom who discovers she can see imaginary friends – IFs – just like her neighbour Cal (Ryan Reynolds).

Though it looks pretty and sounds nice – with its animated characters voiced by a name-heavy celebrity cast (Steve Carrel; Emily Blunt; Matt Damon; George Clooney; Awkwafina; Bradley Cooper) – the wispy, threadbare story struggles to engage.

Krasinski play’s Bea’s surgery-bound father, force-injecting some bedside pathos into the thin mix. Not bad as a family time killer but the film is eminently forgettable, and adults will likely find themselves checking their watches.