Gran Torino

When I think of death in movies, I always think of the movie Gran Torino. Gran Torino was about an old man, Clint Eastwood, who lived in a bad neighborhood where crime rates were very high. He was a war veteran, very strong and tough. One of the teenage boys in the neighborhood tries to steal Eastwood’s car to be initiated into a gang, but Eastwood catches him in the act. The boy’s mom makes him go help Eastwood around the house to be forgiven for the bad he has done. Eastwood hated the thought at first, but let him help anyway. Eastwood grows to like the young boy, and unfortunately in the end, dies for him and his family.

The movie portrayed death as an act of honor or dying heroically for someone else. The young boy had a problem with gangs, such as getting beat up, and the boy’s sister got raped by a few people in the gang, also. Eastwood knew that this problem was never going to stop, so in order to save the family, he went to the gang neighborhood. Eastwood went without a gun, but acted like he had one. He was shot by every gang member, and the members were put in jail, never able to bother the family again. This, however, is misleading since in the real-word, people often die from illnesses or accidents. Far fewer people die for the sake of others, like Clint Eastwood did in this movie.  Although, I do think the media portrayal had some helpful concepts of death in it, such as the grieving process that people go through when someone dies. When the boy and his family got the news, they ran down to the ambulance. They all were crying hysterically. This part is a lot like the real world because a lot of crying is involved when someone dies.

This movie did support the idea that America is a “death denying” culture. Throughout the entire movie, Clint Eastwood is coughing up blood. The viewers of this movie also saw that he smoked, which was probably causing him to cough up blood. So, during the movie, every viewer knew that Clint Eastwood had some illness, and he was going to die soon. Every viewer denied that he would die in the movie. He could solve any and every problem, and he was too strong of a man to die. Every viewer hoped to see him live. When Clint Eastwood died, not by illness, but by gunshot wound, saving the ones he cared about, it was still hard for the viewers to process this. Every viewer grew fond of Clint Eastwood and denied the fact that he was going to die. Society makes it seem like the people you are fond of are not going to die, and people do not have to worry about that. People grow close to others and deny the fact that their loved ones will die someday. Society sweeps the “death talk” under the rug and decides not to think or talk about it. Society likes to think that death only happens in the movies, until it actually affects us.

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4 thoughts on “Gran Torino

  1. I have never seen the movie Gran Torino but after reading your post I now want to! I liked the fact that you mentioned that Eastwood dies in honor of someone else and that oftentimes when we experience death it is not out of honor but of accidents/illnesses. That is such a true point and it makes me think about how I would deal with a death that was in my honor and if it would make me feel differently than would a death of someone I loved due to illness. Although our soldiers who have fought for our lives and died is indeed in our honor, and I greatly appreciate that with all my heart, I haven’t had a soldier that I know and truly cared about pass, so I don’t know what that would feel like or how I would mourn that loss. Much like how Eastwood died in order to save the boy and his family, I don’t know how exactly I would deal with someone very close to me doing that for me and my family. It really gets me wondering about how I would mourn that loss. I agree with you in that Gran Torino exemplifies that we are a society that denies death because of the fact that the audience doesn’t believe that Eastwood will die from getting shot rather than illness. From what you’ve said about the movie, it seems as though the audience does not want to believe that Eastwood will have anything that horrible happened to him because they grow to really like his character. We as a society don’t believe our loved ones will die anytime soon and we often put it off, leaving it in the background. When it does happen it is such a shock and we don’t know how to deal with it.

  2. I love the movie Gran Torino. You did a very good job of explaining the movie for those who have yet to see this film. I have to say I agree with you when you explained how within the movie, it proves that we are a death denying culture. You stated that the viewers felt as if there was no way he would die during the film even though we could clearly see he was ill. Within our society we try to do or say everything we can to minimize the way we let death affect us. 99% of us within the U.S. look at death as a loss and a devastating event in our lives. Then you go to Mexico and there, death is a celebration of life and everyone believes the spirit of the deceased is now freed. That is an example of how two different cultures view death. Very good job with you blog, I enjoyed reading it.

  3. I really enjoyed Gran Torino and also really enjoyed your post. I couldn’t agree more with the thought that Clint Eastwood’s character dies in a very glorified way. We do not typically see this type of sacrifice in the culture we live in. He is so tough and nasty the whole movie you kept convincing yourself that he would get himself through all of the unfortunate situations surrounding him, or that he put himself in. But the movie deals with things that would typically be sad with a type of humor, chiefly the scene where his will is being read. Not long after they have the funeral service they take most of the friends and family into a private room and read his will, where he makes various humorous remarks and that quickly the sadness is seemingly over.

  4. I think it’s the way every old man should go out.
    Before you get too sick to do anything. Do something that needs to be done. Between all the gangs in the inner cities on all the CEO’s and politicians that get away with all too much and never get punished.

    I’ve been thinking about starting a GranTorino Club. Promote in every city, in every neighborhood. Got bad gang leaders in the hood, have an old fart take him out one way or another. What more honorable way would there be to go? Sure beats being a burden to your family and community.

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