Gran Torino (2008) and Up (2009) – American Movies

November 15, 2009 jeansdream
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I watched these two movies recently – Gran Torino (2008) and Up (2009).

The Gran Torino  is a Ford-produced car in the late 60’s to early 70’s.  A 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport SportsRoof was featured in the Gran Torino (2008) movie directed by and starring Clint Eastwood.  Nowadays when people think of the most popular Ford-made sports car, perhaps most people will say Mastang.  But Gran Torino was once a popular and best-selling car model at its time.  This movie features the life of a recently-widowed Ford car assembly worker and Korean-war veteran, Walt, after his wife passed away.  His relationship with the two sons and their families contrasted with his new neighbour of the H’Mong (Vietnam) heritage.  He owned a Gran Torino which he assembled and prized.  His grand-daughter eyed it.  She asked if she could have it when he died on the day his wife had the funeral.  This car also sparked a never-expected relationship among Walt, Thao and Sue (the son and daughter of his new Hmong neighbour).

Up (2009) is an animation movie produced by Pixar.  This is a fairy tale in the modern days.  It’s about an old man, Carl, in a floating house, (stuck) with a boy scott, Russell,  to his dream target of a long time.  Carl’s wife, Ellie, talked about visiting this place, the Paradise Falls, when they were kids.  They got married and had started to save up for this trip.  But the trip fund was used for different reasons so the trip got put off.  After Carl’s lifetime partner wife died, he decided to fly to this dream place.  Russell needed to collect his final badge before he could be promoted as a senior Wilderness Explorer scott, hence he set his target to help this senior.  The two had an adventure together.

I want to draw a comparison between these two movies.

First, both movies, in my opinion, pay fine tributes to seniors.  When seniors may be viewed as grumpy, difficult-to-please old folks by the younger generations, (sadly sometimes even by their own off-springs,) these two films present them as a special group of people who are wise and experienced.  Tho sometimes they may be emotional, they also have a warm heart and caring soul – younger generations just need to spend time and respect them in order to get to the inner characters.  Once connected, they may both experience a mutual enlightenment in each other’s presence.

Second, regardless of age, there’s something every one prize in his/her heart.  In Gran Torino,  the old sport car was Walt’s treasure; in Up, the house was Carl’s precious.  They serve as almost the only single prized connection to their passed wife.  These objects have brought many sweet and lovely memories to these senior subjects.  For the juniors in the films, Thao, In Gran Torino, a teen H’Mong seeks peer acceptance, while Russell, in Up, a boy scott works hard to gain love from a distant Dad.  Both films reveal the before-and-after when the subjects give their prized objects up.

Young people, take the courage and lead to make the first contact.  Some seniors have a sad and bitter past.  Loosing their life-long partner is a big loss to them, sometimes so big that it gets their better half of themselves.  If you have a chance, be nice to the aged.  Consider yourself  lucky if you still have your grand-parents or even parents around.  Be nice to them.  Don’t just lust after the money and assets (oh Lord…) and only see the inheritance.  The Chinese has a saying, “A tree wants to be still but the wind doesn’t take a break; a son wants to serve their parents but they don’t stay awaiting” (樹欲靜而風不止,子欲養而親不待也 – 【出處】:漢·韓嬰《韓詩外傳》卷九).  Do the right thing at the right time.

Lastly, one theme is very important – holding on to past grudges will only block you from present and future happiness.  Throw away prejudices.  Age gap.  Racial discrimination.  Time won’t pause for you.  It’s up to yourself to live a happy life or a bitter life for the days to come.  Let go of the past, free up your hands to hold better, happier treasures to come.  Oui, I don’t mean let go of your aged spouse and get a younger girl / boy friend!!

Both films have very serious life lessons to be learnt AND the presentation is NOT-AT-ALL boring.  I believe you will enjoy them.


Entry Filed under: Movie Ping 影評

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