- While his recently departed wife was probably the only family member of Walt to have genuinely loved him, the rest of Walt's family, consisting of his sons and their own families, absolutely hates him and only wants his belongings for their own ends and even showing No Sympathy towards Walt's loss of his wife at her funeral at the beginning of the film. In addition, Walt is a Korean War vet who is haunted by his memories of his experiences and had few people in his life to confide to which were his wife and the church before befriending Thao and his family. While Walt is a Racist Grandpa, you can't help but feel sorry for the man.
- Even after his Heroic Sacrifice, Walt's own family still hates him when they also show No Sympathy towards his passing at his funeral and were relieved rather then saddened when Walt died. Even in death, his sons and their families still disrespected him, meaning the bad blood between them would never stop.
- In a way, though, despite how they can be seen as a Hate Sink, you almost have to feel sorry for Walt's family as well. While they clearly hate Walt with a passion and make no secret of it, it's more than likely because of how he has no respect for them any more because of how he's stuck in the past, punishing himself for his acts during the Korean War and never being able to forgive himself for those acts, considering them his personal Moral Event Horizon. Just think what it must have been like for his sons growing up, having a father that probably couldn't have cared less about them (likely compounded by how Walt confesses how he was never close to his sons) and how they just wanted a loving father figure, having only their mother (who isn't there any more) to look up to. Can you really blame his family for hating Walt as much as they do? The same could be said for his grandkids too, even though they were no closer to Walt than his sons were. Even with the granddaughter who wanted his Gran Torino, it was possibly as a "screw you" to Walt for never having been the grandfather she wanted.
- Overall, Walt and his family altogether are a Jerkass Woobie Dysfunctional Family.
- When Thao asks Walt what it's like to kill someone, Walt turns to him with the world-weary look of a traumatized former badass crushed by life—and death—and whispers, "You don't want to know...."
- Walt's farewell scene to Thao, who has been locked up in Walt's basement to stop him interfering with his Heroic Sacrifice.
- Also, when Walt, the lovable old racist, is gunned down by those gang-bangers in the end of the movie. He tricks them into murdering him, thus galvanizing the community into breaking their code of silence and sending the gang to jail. This gives Thao and Sue a chance to grow up properly.
- After the climax, the Gran Torino is willed to Thao, showing how much their friendship had meant to Walt.
- When Walt calls his son, apparently to tell him about his Incurable Cough of Death, he refrains from doing so at the last minute. This is compounded by Walt's confession that he regretted not becoming close to his sons.
- Thao's sister getting raped by Spider. She comes in the house, looking practically catatonic from shock with a beaten and bloody face.
- This, in turn, causes the normally sour, stoic Walt to drop his glass and take his frustration out on two cupboards.
Tearjerker / Gran Torino