The movie, Gran Torino, is about an old war veteran who has just lost his wife. He is alienated from his family and lives alone with his dog. He suffers from a terminal illness but doesn’t tell anyone. When one of his neighbors, Tao, is pressured into trying to steal Walt’s Gran Torino he gets caught by Walt, and Tao’s mother makes him work for Walt in order to make up for trying to steal his car. The more Tao works for Walt, the more they begin to respect each other. Eventually, Walt helps Tao become more of a man by getting him a job and teaching him how to act. Tao and the Hmong community help Walt realize he needs redemption.
A major theme in Gran Torino is alienation. You see this through Walt’s relationships with his neighbors, his kids, and Father Janovich. Throughout the movie, it is very evident that Walt is alienated from his kids. You see this during their mom’s funeral when Walt’s sons, Mitch and Steve, are complaining about him and don’t seem to be too worried about his well-being. Part of the reason is his high expectations he has for his sons. You see how his kids feel about him at the funeral when one says, “My point is that there’s nothing anyone can do that won’t disappoint the Old Man.
It’s inevitable. That’s why we stopped doing Thanksgivings; the deal with the boat motor, the broken bird bath, it’s always something. ” This shows how his sons just got sick of trying to get his approval and gave up. Another time you see this alienation is when Mitch and his wife try to talk to Walt about moving to a retirement home. They don’t seem to care what Walt wants. The most apparent incident is when Walt tries to reach out to his son when he gets his test results back revealing that he has some fatal illness or disease of some sort.
His son doesn’t even listen and tells him he doesn’t have time. Unfortunately, his relationship with his sons does not improve much throughout the movie. Even after he has died and they are listening to his will, they don’t seem upset at all. They are just interested in what he left them, which is nothing. At the beginning of the movie, Walt is very alienated from his neighbors. The only time he ever interacts with them is when they are on his property and he is usually yelling at them using some sort of profanity. Otherwise, he just sits and mumbles about them to himself.
It becomes worse after Tao, the boy next door, attempts to steal Walt’s 1972 Gran Torino. Even when he saves Tao and his family from his cousin’s gang, it is apparent that all Walt really wanted was for them to get off his lawn. The Hmong community brings him food to thank him; he refuses it. He is also resistant to put Tao to work to make up for him attempting to steal his Gran Torino. Once Walt saves Sue, you see him become less alienated. Sue invites him to a gathering at her house and introduces him to many people. As she explains some of their culture to him, Walt becomes more accepting of them.
When he realizes he has more in common with the Hmong people than he does with his own family, Walt doesn’t alienate himself from them as much. The relationship between Walt and the Hmong community is probably the most changed in the end. As Tao begins working for Walt, they slowly develop a father-son relationship that becomes stronger than Walt ever has with his own kids. The relationship between Tao and his family and Walt becomes so strong that Walt gives up his life for Sue and Tao. By the end of the movie,Walt considers Tao a friend and it is apparent the feeling is mutual.
You see this when the will is read and it says, “And to my friend, Tao Vang Lor, I leave my 1972 Gran Torino on the condition that you don’t choptop the roof like a damned spick, don’t paint any idiotic flames on it like some white-trash hillbilly, and don’t put a big gay spoiler on the rear-end like you see on all the other zipper heads’ cars. It just looks like hell. If you can refrain from doing any of that, it’s yours. ” Walt is very alienated from the Church. You see this through his conversations with Father Janovich, “Well, I confess I never much liked church and only went because of the wife.
And I confess I have no desire to confess to a boy who is fresh out of the seminary. ” Walt tries to keep Father Janovich as far away as possible. He won’t even let him call him Walt. He insists that Father Janovich calls him Mr. because they are not friends, “Listen, son, you’re not my barber, you’re not a friend, so why in the hell do you think you can call me Walt? ” However, because Father Janovich never gives up and keeps coming back, he is eventually able to understand a little bit about Walt and help him.
Although he never completely gets Walt to come back to church, Walt does eventually come to confessional. Father Janovich is trying to help Walt through his guilt from the war and eventually he learns more about Walt. By the end of the movie, Father Janovich and Walt respect each other. At the end of the movie, most of Walt’s relationships have changed completely. Walt’s relationship with Father Janovich and his neighbors has improved the most, but his relationship with his family is almost unchanged, if not worse, fter he left nothing for them in his will. His neighbors and Father Janovich were more open to listen to him, and his kids wouldn’t take the time to talk to him even when he tried to reach out. When Walt does try to reach out his son Mitch responds, “Okay. Yeah, so it’s not a good time right now. Why don’t you call me over the weekend. ” Of all the characters, Tao and his sister, Sue, are the ones that help Walt become less isolated the most. They seem to really care about him by the end of the movie and aren’t so judgmental like his family.