- 1 hr 56 min
Clint Eastwood is in his prime in this compelling drama about a widower who is frustrated with the diversity that is occurring in his hometown. He is crusty and difficult to befriend, yet a Hmong family next door usurp themselves into his life- changing the course it takes. His character, Walt, is a true American and has bitterness toward the emerging diversity occurring in his neighborhood following the death of his wife. This movie features some truly great young talent- such as the actors portraying the young Hmong neighbors who are not deterred by their cranky neighbor's racial insults or lack of warmth. Clint is a widowed patriot, who is frustrated with the diverse groups of people that are moving into his neighborhood. He has a much coveted classic Gran Torino kept spit-shined in his garage that becomes targeted by local youth, further reinforcing his prejudices. The Gran Torino represents something to Walt- symbolizing his national pride and his years of service working for an American car manufacturer. Though Thao and Walt experience strained relations at first, as Thao is punished for his role in trying to take Walt's beloved car. He becomes an indentured servant to Walt, fixing up the neighborhood houses and properties at Walt's command, satisfying Walt's concern about the neighborhood deteriorating. Thao and his sister Sue invite Walt to their home where he becomes more comfortable around the diverse cultures that he has been so negative towards. Thao or "Toad" as he is referred to by Walt, and the challenges of coming to age in this setting is eye-opening and a bit sad. When he goes out of his way to avoid being pulled into gang-life, his life becomes difficult and he is victimized repeatedly. Thao and his sister, Sue are face these temptations and choices with integrity and bravery, at times standing up to the gang members that insist on their compliance. Walt recognizes that these two are different than the Hmong gang youth taking over his turf, and they become good friends. Walt admires their perseverance and integrity. When Sue is attacked in a retaliatory assault by gang members, Walt is compelled to take action leading to an unexpected ending that is both tragic and inspirational. The actors protraying Walt's busy and patronizing son, the kindly and intrusive clergyman, as well as steady presence on-screen of Walt's loyal companion, Daisy the dog, round out a top notch cast and support this movie in being one of the best released in recent years.