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Critical
Analysis

December
10, 2017

Critical Analysis of “Guess Who’s
Coming to Dinner”

            The film “Guess Who’s Coming to
Dinner,” directed by Stanley Kramer, was first aired in 1967. The film was
cutting-edge for its time, as it demonstrated the relationship shared between a
white woman and a black man. It captures the formalities that were around race
and relationship and the tension that existed for both blacks and whites. This
film is fifty years old and this nation is still influenced by racial
discrepancies. Another focus Kramer portrays throughout the film is, the divide
between the generations. This gives the audience a better understanding of race
and the differences between two racially different people, rather the differences
between a man and a woman.

            In this film, Dr. John Prentice is
the fiancée of Joey Drayton. John express anxiety about the reaction of his
interracial relationship. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Prentice. His parents
are shocked and bothered by their son’s marriage with a white woman. Mr.
Prentice has very strong negative feelings about the relationship, whereas,
Mrs. Prentice sees her son’s feelings as the most important factor in the
relationship. Joey Drayton is the daughter of Matt and Christina Drayton. Joey
has a deep belief in racial equality. She believes that no matter the color of
her husband’s skin, her parents would be supportive of her decision (as most
parents would be supportive of their daughter’s marriage). Because of her deep
belief in racial equality, she comes off as clueless and innocent to life. Her
father lives a liberal lifestyle that supports equality, but when his daughter
challenges his beliefs, he is forced to live up to those values, even when he
does not approve. Christina lives a liberal as well. She looks at the situation
on an intimate level and just wants to see her daughter happy. This causes
conflict between her and her husband, which challenges them to reconsider what
their values and beliefs really are.

            The filmmakers for this movie were
very cautious, as they did not dig deeper into the true issues of what
interracial couples were like during this period. The approach is told through
the white perspective and the true reasons of why the Drayton’s never approve
their daughter’s marriage is never revealed. Matt’s reasons for the marriage to
not happen are very vague, which develops into a cover up to hide the racist
tendencies within the liberal family.

 John
Prentice is a doctor, that is happy, intelligent and successful. Some would say
that he was “too perfect” to be convincing. His life in this film is an
inaccurate representation of what it was like to be black during this time, as
it almost represented a white ideal character. White male control is what keeps
the plot moving. This is shown when John Prentice puts the final decision of whether
he can marry his daughter in the hands of Mr. Drayton. John looks at the white
man in the movie as more powerful than the woman.

            One scene that really depicts the
white male in the film have more power is when Tillie, the Drayton’s maid,
expresses her opinion about the interracial marriage, and is quickly shut down
by her employers. Tillie has raised Joey alongside Christina, and just wants
the best for her. In contrast, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, illustrates and
comes the start to the beginning of racial acceptance and equality. Through all
its flaws, the film has a historical impact that began the discussion of these
social issues. Still to this day, some have a hard time accepting and
understanding interracial love, but this marks the points where this starts to
become socially acceptable.

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