Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
Meeting the fiancé of your daughter is never an easy task so Joey Drayton’s (Katharine Hepburn) affluent parents are more than a little nervous when she springs the fact that her fiancé is coming to dinner. While her choice of future husband isn’t a bad one – Dr. John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) is an internationally respected doctor with impeccable manners and from a respectable California family – he is black. That could be an issue in a time when mixed marriages were looked on with a skeptical eye. Things are compounded when John’s parents fly up from Los Angeles for the evening and an old Irish priest and friend of the family all join in for this eventful and very memorable dinner. Also starring Spencer Tracy, Katherine Houghton, Cecil Kellaway, Beah Richards, Roy Glenn, Isabel Sanford, Virginia Christine, Barbara Randolph, Tom Heaton, Grace Gaynor, Skip Martin.
Guess Whos Coming to Dinner comes in at #99 on the original AFI Top 100 list. It is what I would call a quiet comedy that has a lot going on so you have to pay attention to keep up, but if you can stay with it you will find it rather enjoyable. The great thing about Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is that is tackles what was a very sensitive topic in a light-hearted and intelligent manner. It helps the film immensely that is packed with the talent of Hepburn, Poitier and Tracy. They all mesh well together a present the perfect stressed family considering the circumstances. Although the story definitely begs the question who on earth wouldn’t want Sidney Poitier as their son-in-law? You can definitely see the greatness that is Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner but out-of-place and time it loses a bit of its power yet remains a decently compelling film.
7/10 Stars – Intelligent and entertaining Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner has a bit of the expected and unexpected.
Not to be confused with the Ashton Kutcher/Bernie Mac “remake” titled Guess Who, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is a movie full of talented actors giving wonderful performances (most of which were nominated for Academy Awards with Hepburn winning) surrounding a topic that was taboo at the time this movie was released. The issue of race was still a huge deal and even more a big deal to the older generations, which is exactly what Joey’s parents are. Having political and racial issues woven inside a love story can make it less desirable to some, but all in all, the topics are subtile, genuine and well delivered. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner will not disappoint, but it might not be the shining star some would hope for.
7/10 Stars – Although nominated for tons of awards, I just couldn’t see the sparkle, but I did see the value, and sometimes that is all that matters in a movie.
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