My wife and I watched Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino last night. The movie has some great character development, especially Eastwood’s character, Walt, and the young man who lives next door, Tau (not sure I am spelling it correctly). In addition the relationship between Walt and a young parish priest displays the growth that occurs in Walt’s life.
The movie opens with the death of the only person Walt ever allowed into his live, his wife. At that point, the estranged father, Korean war vet and retired Ford plant employee is truly alone and isolated, an isolation of his own making. Walt has little patience for the changing world around him, especially the various ethnic and cultural changes. His son’s and their wives attempt to help him move on, but their efforts have more to do with relieving themselves of him and hopes of inheriting his vintage “Gran Torino” which sits in his garage in mint condition.
Walt is quite simply and undenyingly a racist. He harbors a lot of anger and that anger will cost him and those he grows to love dearly. The neighborhood, which he has apparently lived in for years has been “taken over” by people of the Mong (not sure I spelled that correctly either) ethnic group. Walt has a tangible disdain for his neighbors. In an act to protect his own property, he also helps his next door neighbors temporarily escape the advances of a local Mong gang. Their abundant appreciation poured out on him, despite his objection and racially charged comments brings him to again step in to protect the daughter next door. This leads to a relationship with this people, and especially the boy next door which fills the vacuum of his isolation. In the end, these relationships will mean more, cost more and transform Walt. Walt’s character takes on a Christological typology, despite all his relational warts and pimples.
This movie is a must see. This movie is meaningful and masterfully done!