Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

When Joanna Drayton returns home to tell her parents Matt and Christina that she is engaged to Dr John Prentice, their attitudes would be challenged when finding out his is African-American.

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After being on holiday in Hawaii and returning back to her parents home in San Francisco Joanna aka Joey is bringing her new fiancé with her to create a truly unforgettable evening. Her mother Christina Drayton owns an art gallery and her father Matt Drayton is the publisher editor of a newspaper. After the 10 day romance Joanna was sure that she was deeply in love with John and wanted nothing more than to marry him, she was only 23 and he was a widower at 37.

The introduction of John to her parents happens in two separate scenes and I have to admit seeing the reactions was certainly a highlight. The shock of the situation and the way they react was something that really helped to set the scene. I mean don’t get me wrong it feels sad to watch and see such shock but this was not what they expected at all. Christina is rather quick in her acceptance in the relationship but Matt has doubts because of the problems the pair would face in American culture. Although John states to the Drayton’s that he will not continue the relationship if they object, Joanna had no idea about this.

Just to make things a little bit more complicated John’s parents are invited to the Drayton home and John had not told them that Joanna was a white woman. So we then get to see the shock in the opposite direction. As they arrive for dinner everything would take on different edges as the different people carry out private conversations. I thought it was quite interesting to see that the two mothers did not have a problem with it but the fathers pointing out the generational differences along with how the racial relationship will be perceived by others.

As a couple of side moments we have Tillie the black maid for the Drayton’s hating that John got above himself and too high a status for a black man. I found this utterly shocking as I had no idea that type of behaviour happened and it made me feel sad that she felt as though she could only see black people serving white people. The we have a member of the church Monsignor Ryan who quite frankly wanted to be noisy with the situation although he is very positive and for the relationship.

It really does have some truly fantastic moments and makes me wonder how in some areas this kind of prejudice still exists in 2021 and that is horrific and frightening. I was not expecting the truly outstanding speech at the end which Spencer Tracy absolutely nails and its truly amazing. Matt Drayton eventually realises that his daughters happiness and love for John means more than anything and they will all support them through any tough times. I really wasn’t expecting it and was blown away by that deliver.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was nominated for ten Oscars including Best Picture and won for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Katharine Hepburn. I was utterly gobsmacked when I found out that Sidney Poitier was not nominated, I mean he was the whole film and truly amazing. This was Spencer Tracy’s final film as he sadly died a few weeks after they finished filming. An amazing cast effort to produce a truly outstanding film, with some issues that are still shockingly around today.

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