One of my favorite movies is Gran Torino. On the surface it may seem like it’s about bigotry, gangs and f-bombs, but from an appreciation standpoint, it holds a much higher theme.
(Warning: spoiler alert!)
Walt achieves that sense of satisfaction from the pride he takes in his work, the care he’s put into preserving it and the joy of putting it out there for others to appreciate. In the beginning of the movie, his young neighbor, Tao, halfheartedly tries to steal the Gran Torino as initiation into a gang. This cowardly act brings shame upon Tao and his family. To make up for the infraction Tao works for Walt. Throughout this arrangement, Walt is able to pass on his lifelong knowledge of cars to a younger generation. In the end Walt leaves the Gran Torino to Tao, instead of to Walt’s two sons, because Tao truly appreciates the car, knows how to care for it and has earned it.
That is the real reason I love this movie. It’s that perfect combination of pride, appreciation and then passing it on. I have to remind myself that I can’t just love what I do, I have to share it with others. This is legacy. This is where the threads of our lives continue to weave.
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