Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood turned 79 two weeks ago. Some men by that age have done nothing but play golf for fifteen years. During that same time span, Eastwood has acted in seven movies, directed fourteen, wrote the music for five, and was nominated for seven oscars, winning two.

I’m glad he has eschewed retirement. He’s just too good to retire.

Gran Torino stars Eastwood and is directed by him. An Eastwood film is guaranteed to be two things: entertaining and provocative. Gran Torino lives up to those standards.

The movie asks us to be sympathetic to a caustic, bitter, racist widower. There is a part of me which says that I should have nothing but disdain for this guy. But I can’t hate him. In a similar way, he wants nothing more than to hate his Hmong neighbors, but finds that he can’t. Eastwood’s characters struggle with Christianity in many of his movies, and so here. But the priest is persistent in his pursuit of the sheep. And the ending clearly is meant to invoke images of Christ. Why?

This is a film worth enjoying, and worth discussing. For me that is a winning conversation.

Immediately after a film, people want to know what I think of it. I can’t always say. But as I type, my daughter was wanting to head off to Blockbuster to get a movie. I found myself laboring to persuade her to watch Gran Torino. Clearly, I am a fan.

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That all said, if the movie had nothing else to commend it, these thirty seconds would be worth watching for any man: