I think Gran Torino is pretty wonderful. But I also recognize that, as Daniel indicated, to appreciate it you probably have to appreciate Eastwood as a major filmmaker and an imporatnt cultural icon.
This is a very contemplative and self-referential work, and Eastwood examines both his own persona and the macho male ethos in general -- something which he's been doing since at least The Gauntlet in 1977. I admit that the beginning sequences of the film are a bit broad and the treatment of the relationship with the sons is slightly glib, but such reservations are minor and fall by the wayside as the movie's emotional depth accumulates. And Eastwood's probing of violence and Harry Callahan-style vigilantie-ism is fascinating and quite moving (and, because it is more personalized, it may be even more memorable than his examination of violent traditions in Unforgiven).
And in Ahney Her's Sue Lor, Eastwood has given us another memorable strong, funny, feisty independent woman -- one of the many traits for which to admire Eastwood is how he has consistently imbued his major female characters with nuance, grit and grace.
Above all, Gran Torino is a beautiful and heartbreaking -- yet inspiring -- tale of redemption.
Edited By Damien on 1232074331
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell