Monday, July 27, 2009

Gran Torino

You know those movies that you're excited about seeing, that everyone has told you almost everything about, and yet you're still not exactly sure what to make of them? This was one of those movies for me. I had heard all sorts of things about Gran Torino, but I still didn't know what to expect.

The first thing everyone had warned me about was the language, and they were spot on. This movie is filled with racial slurs I had never heard before.

Beyond that, all I knew was that it was good. And it truly was. It's about a crusty old widower who has his worldviews changed by relationships. Asians move in next door, and while he's initially very skeptical and rude, as he builds relationships with them his view is changed and the goodness in him begins to leak out. He is kind and generous to them, doing everything he can to help his friends grow.

Clint Eastwood does a great job playing a character who is tough on the outside and yet filled with goodness, even if he plays it down. Everyone from the priest to the neighbors changes him simply because they spend time with him. They don't give up and let his gruffness scare them off.

There's a lesson for us in this movie. Many of them, I suppose, but the biggest one is the power of relationships. If we open our hearts to individuals, rather than writing them off because of what we think we know about larger groups, worlds collide and we are never the same.

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