I watched the movie Gran Torino today with my class. It is directed and produced by and stars the wonderful Clint Eastwood. It centers around Walt Kawolski, a widower, Korean war veteran and professional grumpypants and his relationship with the Hmong family living next door to him.
- You can clearly see from the opening scene that Walt doesn’t like his son’s family. He thinks the daughter is wearing inappropriate clothes and he gets annoyed when the son makes a joke when he’s supposed to be respectful. It sets a good foundation for the rest of the movie when he gets closer to his neighbors and still maintains a cold relationship with his own family.
- The Gran Torino is a big part of the movie. It’s the title, it gets mentioned both in the beginning and the end related to who’s going to inherit it and it’s featured in the final scene. I believe the reason it’s so significant during the whole thing is because of the importance it places both in Walt’s past (when he worked at Ford) and his present (the reason he gets to know the Lor family is in essence because of the car).
- During Walt’s birthday, he first spends it with his son and daughter-in-law and later with the Lor family. He might have gone to the Lor family begrudgingly, but we see him enjoying himself there more than with his own son. He even went so far as to kick his son out, and with the neighbors, he was seen having fun. As much fun as Walt can have.
- One of the things I found interesting about Walt’s death scene was its religious significance. Throughout the whole movie we hear that he doesn’t believe in religion and the only reason he ever went to church was to please his wife. Yet at the end, the way he is positioned in death is oddly reminiscent of Jesus.
I think the reason of his sacrifice was both the knowledge of his impending death (coughing up blood, told he should get in a home and such) as well as the fact that the Lor family wasn’t as bad as he thought. He enjoyed their company, seemingly more than he has other with people other than his wife (he admits he wasn’t close with his sons).
- Walt is shown to be a man who isn’t open with people or even himself. The fact that he didn’t tell his son of his visit at the doctor’s was to be expected by someone like him.