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View All Guess Who's Coming to Dinner News
All Critics (29)
| Top Critics (5)
| Fresh (20)
| Rotten (9)
| DVD (3)
A disaster on all counts -- its time, if it ever had one, has definitely passed.
A wishy-washy, sanctimonious plea for tolerance, directed with Kramer's customary verbosity and stodginess.
A most delightfully acted and gracefully entertaining film.
It would be easy to tear the plot to shreds and catch Kramer in the act of copping out. But why? On its own terms, this film is a joy to see, an evening of superb entertainment.
Examines its subject matter with perception, depth, insight, humor and feeling
The film may have a foregone conclusion, but it's worth watching as the acting is so good.
Initially breezy without ever sacrificing any of its points, the picture eventually resorts to a series of static speeches. Luckily, the actors carry the day, particularly Sidney Poitier, Cecil Kellaway and, taking MVP honors, Spencer Tracy.
...an appealing premise that's employed to watchable (if entirely uneven) effect by filmmaker Stanley Kramer...
...rather tame and superficial by today's standards: a gentle, sentimental comedy on the subject of interracial marriage.
Civil rights, love, and family stress.
Tracy looks tired in this draggy production; he died soon afterward, and it's infuriating to watch him sweat to inject fire into such pap.
There are wonderful performances here, as you'd expect from Hepburn and Tracy, and there's no question that the film is well intentioned. Yet it's also hamfisted and self-congratulatory in the most galling way.
A remarkable drama considering its important subject for the time it came out, and it works very well despite a few discrepancies in tone, like a silly ice cream scene that plays for cheap laughs. But it is Hepburn and Tracy who bring it to a higher level with wonderful performances.
Representing the swan song of Spencer Tracy and solidifying Sidney Poitier's resume, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner is an examination of the changes going on during the mid to late 1960's. The film has a very basic premise in which young Joey (Katherine Houghton) comes home from a trip to Hawaii with John Prentice (Poitier) to meet her parents (Tracy and Katherine Hepburn). What follows is the conflicted feelings that go along with the changing times of the 1960's. John will not marry Joey without the consent of her parents. Her parents are unsure about giving consent, not due to their own racism, but due to the fear of how difficult their life will be as an interracial couple. Added in are the two cents of everyone around the family. True, this can be a comedy at times, but it's more a look at the old guard facing the new guard.
Directed by the legendary Stanley Kramer, the film represents a kind of social experiment. Let's drop '60's progressivism on the nuclear family of the 1950's (although the privileged life of the Drayton's is far from nuclear). The Drayton's are not conservative minded individuals, but very left leaning. Still, they fear for their daughter and how that current state of the world would react to them. Tracy delivers his final performance with a flourish and considering his death was imminent brings even greater power to his role. Add to the fact that this is one final pairing with Katherine Hepburn makes it even more bitter sweet. Hepburn also mesmerizes on the screen as the mother giddy over her daughter's upcoming nuptials, yet fearful at the same time. Once again Poitier proves that he is one of the greatest actors of this era, a witty and likeable presence that thinks things out for the protection of others. The only real negative of the film is Houghton's performance as Joey, which comes across as very snotty and annoying. Whether it was written this way or not, you can almost feel like maybe John would be better of with not being tied to her in some instances.
I asked myself a question while watching this film. Have we moved forward in the last half century compared to our ideals? In some ways we have. Interracial marriage is not illegal in seven states, as the film reminds us. There's very little stigma related to it anymore, other than the old school and uneducated. The thing is that it feels like where we have progressed as a society, we're still slipping in other areas. To avoid making this review an ideology discussion I'll stop there. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner is a time capsule of the '60's and represents one of the greatest psychological battles of all time. When your ideals come home how are you going to react?
Pontificating, pretentious film. It's so fantasy it's crazy.
Cast: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Houghton, Cecil Kellaway, Beah Richards, Isabel Sanford, Roy Glenn, Virginia Christine
Director: Stanley Kramer
Summary: Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn star as wealthy Californians who consider themselves progressive until their only daughter (Katharine Houghton) brings home her African American fiancé (Sidney Poitier) in this snapshot of race relations in the late 1960s. The film earned two Academy Awards (for Hepburn's performance and William Rose's screenplay) and eight other nominations.
My Thoughts: "I can't imagine what it must have been like when this film came out in 1967. How controversial it must have been to see a black man and a white woman in a relationship and going to be married. It of course isn't such a big deal in today's world. But for some, still an issue. It's a smartly written film with such great acting. I loved Spencer Tracy as the father and Cecil Kellaway, who was quite funny as the Monsignor. I'm sure it made people think, talk about it more, and changed peoples views. My mother said the movie was a very big deal when it came out. That some people were outraged and disgusted while other's where impressed and celebrated the film in hopes of changing some persons views. The ending speech that Spencer Tracy gives near the end of the film is moving. Kudos to everyone who was apart in making this, which I am sure was a ground breaking film in that time."
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