DanielleMcClurg ENG338 CriticalAnalysis December10, 2017 Critical Analysis of “Guess Who’sComing to Dinner” The film “Guess Who’s Coming toDinner,” directed by Stanley Kramer, was first aired in 1967. The film wascutting-edge for its time, as it demonstrated the relationship shared between awhite woman and a black man.
It captures the formalities that were around raceand relationship and the tension that existed for both blacks and whites. Thisfilm is fifty years old and this nation is still influenced by racialdiscrepancies. Another focus Kramer portrays throughout the film is, the dividebetween the generations. This gives the audience a better understanding of raceand the differences between two racially different people, rather the differencesbetween a man and a woman. In this film, Dr.
John Prentice isthe fiancée of Joey Drayton. John express anxiety about the reaction of hisinterracial relationship. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Prentice. His parentsare 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 therelationship. Joey Drayton is the daughter of Matt and Christina Drayton. Joeyhas a deep belief in racial equality. She believes that no matter the color ofher husband’s skin, her parents would be supportive of her decision (as mostparents would be supportive of their daughter’s marriage). Because of her deepbelief in racial equality, she comes off as clueless and innocent to life.
Herfather lives a liberal lifestyle that supports equality, but when his daughterchallenges his beliefs, he is forced to live up to those values, even when hedoes not approve. Christina lives a liberal as well. She looks at the situationon an intimate level and just wants to see her daughter happy. This causesconflict between her and her husband, which challenges them to reconsider whattheir values and beliefs really are. Interestingly enough, the two mothers cometogether and agree that they just want what is best for their children. This iscommon when it comes to mothers and their role with children. They are thenatural caregiver and show more emotion to their children. The fathers bothcome to an agreement that the interracial marriage is wrong.
They do not havespecific reason why, but it is obvious that they would rather not have thismarriage go through. In the end, the two love birds get married. The familiescome to an agreement that happiness is what matters in the long run. The filmmakers for this movie werevery cautious, as they did not dig deeper into the true issues of whatinterracial couples were like during this period. The approach is told throughthe white perspective and the true reasons of why the Drayton’s never approvetheir daughter’s marriage is never revealed. Matt’s reasons for the marriage tonot happen are very vague, which develops into a cover up to hide the racisttendencies within the liberal family.
JohnPrentice is a doctor, that is happy, intelligent and successful. Some would saythat he was “too perfect” to be convincing. His life in this film is aninaccurate representation of what it was like to be black during this time, asit almost represented a white ideal character. White male control is what keepsthe plot moving forward. This is shown when John Prentice puts the finaldecision of whether he can marry his daughter in the hands of Mr. Drayton. Johnlooks at the white man in the movie as more powerful than the woman. Johnunderstands that what he is trying to pursue is not socially acceptable.
Healways realizes that Joey is naïve to the situation, but appreciates heraccepting personality. When John presents this to Mr. Drayton, he states, “Iwill not marry Joey unless you are fully accepting to the marriage.” Johnrespects her parents, and even more respects the white denomination. Onescene that really depicts the white male in the film have more power is whenTillie, the Drayton’s maid, expresses her opinion about the interracialmarriage, and is quickly shut down by her employers. This was common in maidsduring this time because they are just there to do what they are told; theemployer does not care what they have to say. But, Tillie has raised Joeyalongside Christina, and just wants the best for her. In contrast, Guess Who’sComing to Dinner, illustrates and becomes the start to the beginning of racialacceptance and equality.
Through all its flaws, the film has ahistorical impact that began the discussion of these social issues. Still tothis day, some have a hard time accepting and understanding interracial love,but this marks the points where this starts to become socially acceptable. Thisfilm is not the exact representation of what interracial relationships werelike during this time, some might even say this film is farfetched, but the effectthe film had on viewers is undeniable. This marks the point where mixed relationshipsbecame a factor in the discussion of American society.