Clint Eastwood – Gran Torino – Questions


This blog post is about the movie Gran Torino, please refrain from reading if you’ve not seen the movie.

In class today we watched the movie Gran Torino, which stars Clint Eastwood playing a grumpy old man, Walt Kowalski, who lives next door to a Hmong family. Their son, Thao, gets in trouble with his cousin’s gang, and Walt helps this poor kid, after Thao tries to steal his car under solicitation by his cousin.

We’ve been asked to answer a few questions about the film:

How would you describe Walt’s relationship with his family? Do you know of anyone that has a similar family relationship? 

Walt has a poor relationship with his family; understandable since it looks like all his family want from him is his stuff e.g. his car – the Gran Torino. He can hardly have a phone call, let alone a conversation with his sons. He is, as stated above, an grumpy old man – his sons are only after his assets. That’s not a healthy relationship. I don’t know anyone with a relationship like that, but I can image it’s hard to live like that. You have your father, which have followed you throughout your life, and you can’t talk to each other without making it an awkward situation.


I’ll hit two flies in one smack.. – That sounds much better in Norwegian:) Can you even use that expression in English?

How would you describe the relationship between Walt and the priest? How does this relationship change during the movie?

At the beginning of the movie, Walt tells the priest to call him Mr. Kowalski, at the end of the movie Walt tells him to call him by his first name. What does this signify? Talk about similar relationships that you have that have changed over time.

Their relationship changes throughout the movie. In the start Walt only want the Priest to get out of his face, he doesn’t think he know about what he’s talking about – in church that is. Since the Priest talked about life and death, but he’s only 27 years old, how can one know about life and death in such a young age? That’s what Walt reacts to. Walt doesn’t want them to be friends, and he asks the Priest to call him Mr. Kowalski.

In the end however, he asks the Priest to call him by his first name – this signifies that Walt have change his perception about him. He understands that the Priest only wants what’s best for him, and I think it also has something to do about his wife’s death. In the start he could have thought that the Priest only was there to show kindness, but in fact he was there, as a friend and he wanted that all the time.

I’ve had relationships that have changed over time – but not in that way, this is different. One of my best relationships went the other way, we were great friends then we grew away from each other. The relationship portrayed in the film is really different.


Walt and his friend the barber have an interesting relationship. Do you think the way they talk to each other is appropriate or inappropriate? Why or why not? Do you think it is okay to speak the way they do if both individuals are okay with the language?

It really depends. I think it’s appropriate to talk like that between them, but maybe not when other people are around. I think it’s ok, as long as what’s being said doesn’t offend someone. As long as it’s a language that goes both back and fourth and both are fine with it it’s ok.

That being said, some boundaries should one have. If you talk the way they talk to each other the chances are you could slip and talk that way to others, that won’t well received I guess.


Walt calls his son after going to the doctor but doesn’t discuss the visit with him. Why do you think that he didn’t share the news about his illness? Under the circumstances would you have acted differently? Why or why not? Have you ever had big news that you changed your mind about sharing?

I think this has all to do with their relationship, as mentioned above they have a relationship that’s not healthy. I think if they’ve had a better relationship he would’ve told him. I’m not sure what I would’ve done, maybe I would’ve tried to do it, tell him that is – after all it’s his son. I do; however, think that it’s not so easy at it may sound.

I’ve had several of these kinds of events/news that I thought wanted to share but didn’t, albeit not like this. I’ve had different achievements that I should’ve shared, but didn’t – I’m not sure why, but it have never come up in a natural way. And I’ve thought to myself “it can wait”. And so it does…


One thought on “Clint Eastwood – Gran Torino – Questions

  1. Ann S. Michaelsen Reply

    Wise comment at the end. Why we share what we share! Sometimes relationships just are too difficult and it is not anyone’s fault. Walt was certainly not a very easy person to get along with and I’m guessing his wife was a peacemaker in that family. Without her everything fell to pieces!

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