Visio Divina – Movie (Netflix): Gran Torino

August 2021 – Our monthly Visio Divina offering from Peter Malone Missionaries of the Sacred Heart – Australia is Gran Torino.
Something of a spirituality of growing old and perspectives changing. Clint Eastwood’s once-Dirty Harry detective is now a widower, Walt, retired in suburbia, discovering the Hmong neighbours that he does not understand but becoming involved in their troubles, taking a stand against thugs, defending these new friends with more than tolerance, giving his life for their safety. In his westerns, Clint Eastwood includes a great deal of Christ-like self-giving in death.

And Gran Torino, should be a must-see for every seminarian or pastoral worker of any Christian tradition, of any faith at all. There is a Catholic focus and some marvelous interaction scenes between Walt and the recently ordained young priest. Walt’s late wife had asked the priest to get Walt to confession. That is certainly not on Walt’s agenda but the two meet, have lots of discussions, Walt doing a bit of relenting, the priest acquiring some worldly wisdom for his religious ministry.
Gran Torino is a variation on the American dream, the crusty old man mellowing (but not absolutely), embracing a broader world than he was used to.
See the trailer here.