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Movie Review: Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood produced, directed and stars in a movie where he plays a bigoted Korean War veteran who grudgingly befriends the Hmong (pronounced “Mung”) family next door. Before long he grows very fond of the son and daughter, getting along with them far better than he does his own family. (His granddaughter sets her eyes on his prized Gran Torino and assumes she’ll inherit it when he dies). An Asian gang terrorizes the Hmong family because of the son’s refusal to join his cousin in the gang, and Eastwood’s gritty character feels he must do everything he can to protect them.

What I liked: The acting, the directing, the storyline. Everybody did a great job acting in this film, including the Hmong, Latino and Black gang members. Eastwood seemed very natural as a retired autoworker/war veteran named Kowalski, who seems to have a strong dislike for all mankind, but who really just wants to be left alone. It was a very well-paced film; each scene, once it serves its purpose, moves on to the next one. There’s also a scene where it’s strongly implied that a rape has taken place, which I liked because I don’t care for rape scenes and very seldom see them done in a tasteful manner.

What I especially liked: the storyline of the priest whose persistence helps him to form a bond with the non-religious Kowalski. Though Kowalski detests him at first, he grows to respect him and see the priest as a minister who cares about people.

What I disliked: The profanity, which goes along with Eastwood’s character. Other than that, there really wasn’t anything in this film I disliked.

Overall, I liked this film very much and think it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in a while.

I am amazed this movie was ignored by the Academy Awards…maybe it has far too few conservative undertones. Who knows.


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