Saturday, February 18, 2017

Movie Review: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967)

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Movie"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"
Year Nominated: 1968
Director: Stanley Kramer
Rating: UR
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Did It Win?: No.

A young white woman brings her black fiance home to meet her liberal-minded parents, who are now forced to put their values to the test and approve of their relationship despite the worldly struggles they will face.

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" is directed by Stanley Kramer, who has directed other Oscar nominated films like "The Defiant Ones" and "Judgment at Nuremberg." It is written by William Rose. The film stars Sidney Poitier as John Prentice, a prominent doctor and widower, and Katharine Houghton as his fiancé Joey Drayton. Joining them are legendary actors Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, who play Joey's parents Matt and Christina Drayton. Also in the film are Roy Glenn and Beah Richards as Mr. and Mrs. Prentice, who fly up for the day to meet Joey and her folks.

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" was a socially topical and bold film for 1967. Shockingly enough, this film is still socially relevant today. It definitely has a message and it drives it home over and over, mostly with great success. It deals with the idea of interracial relationships right in the thick of the civil rights movement where the very thought of an interracial relationship was considered something unnatural or even against God for many people, especially those in more rural parts of the country. It was actually in June of 1967 when the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage legal in all states through the case Loving vs. The State of Virginia, a case covered in the 2016 film "Loving." "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" covers this topic in an interesting and engaging way by making Joey's parents ultra politically progressive. They raised her to truly see everyone as equal, and when she falls for an African American doctor, it serves to see exactly how deep their progressive ideals go in practice, not just in virtue and in words.

The cast here offers some really brilliant performances. Katharine Hepburn managed to take home a Best Actress Oscar, and Spencer Tracy, Cecil Kellaway, and Beah Richards all received nominations as well. The film got nominated for 10 Oscars total and took home two, including the aforementioned one for Hepburn, and another for best screenplay. Even though Sidney Poitier didn't get nominated, he displays his perfect acting chops and was more than deserving of a nomination in our eyes. His performance is nothing short of incredible as he and his soon-to-be-wife, with permission, navigate a tricky situation with what would appear to be two people who don't quite practice what they preach in Mr. and Mrs. Drayton. This film also boasts the last on-screen film featuring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as he died shortly after shooting his part in the film. The emotional scenes they share between them, both together and apart, are tremendously moving and excellently acted.

At the end of the day, love may triumph over anything in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." This is a fantastic film that is definitely worth checking out. Like we mentioned above, it's crazy to see just how relevant a story like this still is in 2017, much to our dismay.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 68%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
Last Oscar season, we were watching: "The Pride of the Yankees"

Two Oscar seasons ago, we were watching: "Jaws"

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