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Gran Torino

Nicole Jonas

Some of my friends won’t watch R-rated movies, but I might recommend Gran Torino anyway. The movie carries an R rating due to language and some violence, but the story is a clear representation of the gospel.

Gran Torino follows a grumpy and prejudiced old man, Walt, who dislikes having his neighborhood taken over by Hmong families from Burma. The teenagers who live next door are targeted by gang members who talk the boy, Thao, into trying to steal Walt’s car, a 1972 Gran Torino. After the incident, Walt sets out to teach the boy how to live responsibly and to protect his family from gangs. In the meantime, Thao’s sister begins to draw Walt out of his isolation and prejudice. I won’t spoil the ending, but the main characters—and the viewers—learn the cost of loving and serving others.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13 (NRSV)

Gran Torino paints the love of Christ in a modern context. The old man’s love for the teenager who tried to steal from him reminds me of the love shown to us by Christ. The manipulation and violence of the gang gives us a glimpse of what sin does to people. I would definitely recommend this movie. Just don’t repeat everything the characters say!

 

JOURNAL: When have you seen examples of Jesus in unlikely places? Who or what taught you to look for him there?

—from devozine (November/December 2011). Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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