Danielle cutting-edge for its time, as it demonstrated

Danielle
McClurg

ENG
338

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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. Interestingly enough, the two mothers come
together and agree that they just want what is best for their children. This is
common when it comes to mothers and their role with children. They are the
natural caregiver and show more emotion to their children. The fathers both
come to an agreement that the interracial marriage is wrong. They do not have
specific reason why, but it is obvious that they would rather not have this
marriage go through. In the end, the two love birds get married. The families
come to an agreement that happiness is what matters in the long run.

            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 forward. 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. John
understands that what he is trying to pursue is not socially acceptable. He
always realizes that Joey is naïve to the situation, but appreciates her
accepting personality. When John presents this to Mr. Drayton, he states, “I
will not marry Joey unless you are fully accepting to the marriage.” John
respects her parents, and even more respects the white denomination.

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. This was common in maids
during this time because they are just there to do what they are told; the
employer does not care what they have to say. But, Tillie has raised Joey
alongside Christina, and just wants the best for her. In contrast, Guess Who’s
Coming to Dinner, illustrates and becomes 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. This
film is not the exact representation of what interracial relationships were
like during this time, some might even say this film is farfetched, but the effect
the film had on viewers is undeniable. This marks the point where mixed relationships
became a factor in the discussion of American society.