Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 540 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Retired auto worker Walt Kowalski fills his days with home repair, beer and monthly trips to the barber. The people he once called his neighbors have all moved or passed away, replaced by Hmong immigrants, from Southeast Asia, he despises. Resentful of virtually everything he sees--Walt is just waiting out the rest of his life. Until the night someone tries to steal his `72 Gran Torino. The Gran Torino brings his shy teenaged neighbor Thao into his life when Hmong gangbangers pressure the boy into trying to steal it. But Walt stands in the way of both the heist and the gang, making him the reluctant hero of the neighborhood--especially to Thao's mother and older sister, Sue, who insist that Thao work for Walt as a way to make amends. Though he initially wants nothing to do with these people, Walt eventually gives in and puts the boy to work fixing up the neighborhood, setting into motion an unlikely friendship that will change both their lives. (Warner Bros. Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. A movie at once understated and radical, deceptively unremarkable in presentation and ballsy in its earnestness. Don't let the star's overly familiar squint fool you: This is subtle, perceptive stuff.
  2. Eastwood finds the humorous aspects of the character as well, no more so than when the appetite of the widower who lives on beef jerky and Pabst Blue Ribbon becomes the center of attention among the Hmong women cooks.
  3. 88
    It's also a terrific, career-capping role for Eastwood, who claims he's now retired as an actor. He shows off his comic chops more fully than in any film since "Bronco Billy" more than a quarter-century ago.
  4. This movie seems even rougher around the edges than much of his past work. Still, it's hard to resist.
  5. 70
    Until Gran Torino starts rumbling headlong toward its tone-deaf, self-serious ending -- the script is by Nick Schenk -- it's often enjoyable, satisfying and funny.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    An endlessly fascinating movie. If only it were a good one.
  7. 38
    It's no compliment to say a movie is "all of a piece" if the piece is all worn out. For all its surface harshness, this movie is a star vehicle at once rickety and cozy.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 194
  1. Your'reAllIdiots
    Jan 16, 2009
    For all the people trashing this film, you obviously can't see any of the moral of greater idea of this movie. It wasn't poorly written of directed, if you go looking for things to hate you'll find them. This was a great movie. Expand
  2. SC
    Feb 15, 2009
    Haven't even seen this one yet, but I will tomorrow (my first chance for a crowd-free monday afternoon flick in a while). If Michael Sragow says "no", I say "YES"! Always. Jeez, Mike, don't you have any friends to remind you that cynicism and self-absorbed vocabulary are no substitute for intelligence and good taste? Expand
  3. Aug 22, 2010
    Gran Torino is maybe the best movie I have ever seen. It is full of everything to pleasure both genders. I watched at my father's apartment with my sister. We all had a great time with this awesome movie. 10 out of 10 is not enough, so I will cheat and say 12 out of 10 :P Expand
  4. davidl
    Feb 1, 2009
    Fantastic film, powerful and very moving. Incredible how it could have garnered no academy nominations. Just shows hows skewed the academy voting process is. This is one of the best films of the year. Expand
  5. Aug 29, 2013
    This review contains spoilers. Great film. Well acted and very powerful.

    I read a user review on this site saying that the message this movie is sending is that the only way to defeat evil people is to let them kill you, and then they'll only spend a few years in prison. To the guy who wrote that review, all I have to say is... what? You do realize that all those guys are going to be found guilty of second degree murder right? That's life in prison, no exceptions. What did you expect to happen? Walt and Thao waltz on up to that house, go on an epic shooting rampage, kill everyone and then get away with it scot-free and everyone lives happily ever after? Clearly you've been watching too many Michael Bay films and also have no clue how the criminal justice system works. They shot Walt in cold blood, in clear view of neighbours. Even if nobody in the neighbourhood actually saw it, they all surely heard the gunshots. and Walt had no gun. Leaving Spider and his Gang the only ones who could have done the shooting. I think you need to look at the bigger picture here. Walt was nearing the end of his life. Over the course of the movie, he grew to care for Thao and his family. Once he found out that there were no witnesses to Sue's kidnapping and the members of the community refused to talk about anything related to Spider's gang, he knew it was the only way to ensure that Spider's gang would never harm Thao and his family ever again. So he spent his last moment doing something very courageous that not only saved Thao and his family but that whole community as well.
  6. BrianT.
    Jun 21, 2009
    Not really sure how to rate this movie. clint eastwood was a ten, the plot/script was decent, but many members of the supporting cast were abysmal. bad enough to distract and ruin (?) the movie. i guess i would recommend the movie but only to enjoy clint eastwood - he really was that good. Expand
  7. VanceB
    Jan 17, 2009
    The grand lesson of this movie is that the way to really defeat evil people is to allow them to kill you. Because maybe, just maybe, they might have to spend a few years in prison--boy that will teach 'em! This movie is the ultimate result of a culture that has become completely pacified and sissy-fied. It was a good movie up to the end. It made some valid commentary on our over-offended society (friends throw ethnic insults at each other without getting offended--unthinkable!). I love Clint Eastwood as an actor, but he has completely sold out to this pacifist mentality--the best way to teach bad people a lesson is to let them hurt you. Expand

See all 194 User Reviews