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Gran Torino

A movie directed by Clint Eastwood

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Superb Eastwood film, though I didn't like its "touchy-feelyness:

  • Sep 13, 2009
  • by
Having appeared in practically every male oriented movie genre in his long career, Clint Eastwood has matured into one of the finest directors and actors the industry - and the public - have seen.

Nearing 80, Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a character of roughly the same age. His wife has just died and Walt is living alone in his home of many years, the last Caucasian in a neighborhood that is suffering severely from "diversity". Kowalski retains the characteristics of the America he grew up in. He is an unrepentant racist, cursing his Hmong neighbors, the Latinos and blacks who, in his eyes, have destroyed his neighborhood. His is a rough camaraderie where "real men" zestfully hurl ethnic insults at each other.

We quickly learn that Kowalski barely speaks with his two grown sons and their families. They have never, it seems, lived up to his expectations. A far too young and callow priest visits Kowalski, urging him to take confession because his late wife wanted him to. Kowalski reacts as you might expect.

The next door neighbors are Hmongs. While Walt smokes his cigarettes and drinks his beer on the front porch, the Hmong grandmother glares at him, muttering insults in Hmong. Eastwood does the same in English.

Kowalski spent three years fighting in Korea and we learn early through the explorations of his obnoxious grandchildren that he has some sort of medal from his service. He returned to work on the Ford assembly line for 50 years.

Now he is alone. Old and alone. He has only his smokes, his beer and Jim Beam, his dog Daisy and his 1972 Ford Grand Torino.

Next door live the Hmong family with two Americanized children, Sue, a girl in her later teens and Thao, who is something of a momma's boy. A Hmong gang wants Thao to join and isn't very gentle in its persuasion.

Kowalski, belying his years, rescues Thao once and then his sister Sue, establishing himself as a hero in a neighborhood held hostage to the gangs.

A reluctant friendship grows between Kowalski and the Hmong, particularly with the young Thao, to whom he becomes a mentor.

Dramatic events pile up quickly and Kowalksi is clearly on a path with his destiny in his dreary Detroit suburb.

Eastwood directed this magnificent film and his acting is superb. He has Kowalski's character down pat. Others may see the resonance between "Gran Torino" and John Wayne's last two films. Eastwood is aware of his aging and he plays the part as if it were real - perhaps because it is.

I was uncomfortable with some parts, perhaps because it seemed to give up too much to "diversity" and "multi-culturalism" without asking some obvious questions. But I certainly can't fault the movie for that.

In its own way, this film is as great as "The Unforgiven", not so much for the story (which is good) but because of Eastwood's direction and acting. He milks this story for all that it is worth - and that is a compliment.


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More Gran Torino (movie) reviews
review by . June 12, 2011
A great movie that touches on many issues
This drama, starring Clint Eastwood, and directed, produced, and partially written by him, is properly advertised as "the performance of a lifetime." It is undoubtedly one of the best films. The story is about an elderly man, an award winning veteran of the Korean War, an atheist, who has never been found contentment in life, whose wife just died, and who, knowing her husband's problems, asks a young parish priest to look after him. He lives in a neighborhood that has changed, surrounded …
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Eastwood depicts a population in our country that is becoming more and more prominent. The elder veteran in a changing world, he responds to attacks on his freedom by reaching out to an unlikely family from another world.
Quick Tip by . July 25, 2010
Eastwood should have retired after this movie. It's one of his best in a while.
Quick Tip by . July 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A bigoted Korean war vet and widow stands up for his Hmong neighbors when the local gang terrorizes his neighborhood. Lots of great moments with Clint Eastwood in great form. If he does in fact retire with this movie, he's going out on a high note.
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Gran Torino is an excellent film that shows Eastwood still has it. Definitely teaches us tolerance is the best policy.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Clint at 80 is still the man! Love that pure Detroit muscle car!
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
Great movie
review by . April 07, 2010
Take a classic action hero years removed from his action days, a cast of people who have never acted in a movie before, an experienced director and a cleverly plotted and written picture and you get a classic.    Gran Torino works on every level. Eastwood absolutely shines as a old vet and autoworker who has two great pleasures in his life, his wife whose funeral begins the movie and his Gran Torino. As Detroit changes and falls apart and the neighbors are increasingly Hmong …
Quick Tip by . March 13, 2010
I enjoyed this film more than I thought I would, especially the humor and tenderness.
review by . March 20, 2009
Gran Torino Movie Poster
I have to admit that I was a bit tentative about seeing "Gran Torino" because I heard that there were a lot of racist remarks in this movie (particularly ones geared toward Asians).  I know first hand how awkward it can be growing up as a minority in America.   I was raised in New Mexico since the age of 4... and there aren't a whole lot of us Chinese kids growing up there, let me tell ya! :)    But I soon realized after watching this movie, that my fears were …
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Jerry Saperstein ()
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I am an e-discovery strategist, computer forensics specialist and testifying expert witness - and an avid reader.      Aside from technology books, I love thrillers, suspense, mystery, … more
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About this movie


Gran Torino is a 2008 American drama film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also stars in the film. The film marks Eastwood's return to a lead acting role after four years, his last leading role having been in Million Dollar Baby. The film features a predominantly Hmong cast, as well as Eastwood's younger son, Scott Eastwood, playing "Trey". Eastwood's oldest son, Kyle Eastwood, provided the score. The film opened to theaters in a limited release in North America on December 12, 2008, and later to a worldwide release on January 9, 2009.

The story follows Walt Kowalski, a recently widowed Korean War veteran who is alienated from his family and angry at the entire world. On a dare by his cousin for initiation into a gang, Thao, Walt's young neighbor, tries to steal Walt's prized 1972 Ford Gran Torino. Walt develops a relationship with the boy and his family.

Gran Torino was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $269 million worldwide.
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Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Action, Adventure
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2009
Runtime: 116 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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