Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Guess-Whos-Coming-to-DinnerA film about two progressive parents who are a bit flummoxed when their daughter Joanna brings home her black fiance.

Released in 1967, this was the main decade in which racial prejudice was prevalent. Now, in the 21st century, it wouldn’t matter one bit what ethnic group a person’s chosen spouse is. Apart from the central plotline of John and Joanna meeting Joanna’s parents and dining with John’s parents, there isn’t much of a plot arc apart from the emerging black music scene, which was a good distinction away from the trivialities of the black fiance argument.

Joanna Drayton, played by Katherine Houghton, was very pretty and portrayed the character of spoiled and naive (yet optimistic) woman falling for the distinguished black doctor John Prentice (Sidney Poitier). But the problem was that her character was just a cipher to further the plot. She existed just to BE the spoiled rich girl who was marrying impulsively.

Spencer Tracy, the late world-famous actor, played Matt Drayton, Joanna’s father. His wife was played by his real-life lover, Katherine Hepburn, and they put across the feeling that they are a real-life couple in a conniption over their daughter’s choice of husband. The characters of John Prentice’s mum and dad, Beah Richards and Roy Glenn respectively, were very deep despite their appearance of being mere ciphers to move the story along, their inclusion in the story made the story deeper over all. We learn about the Prentice family’s struggles through John’s verbal exchanges with his father. Mr Prentice struggled with his job as a mailman and was unable to buy good things for himself or his wife because they wanted John to have a good education.

Given the year of release, it does overplay to racial stereotypes a little (the irate servant, the black motorist, etc) but its still a good film and Tracy’s monologue at the end is just mesmerizing.

MY RATING: *** / *****

 

 

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