Making the Grades
Plans for an afternoon golf game are abruptly canceled when Matthew Drayton's (Spencer Tracey) daughter, Joanna (Katharine Houghton) unexpectedly returns from Hawaii to announce her engagement. Well-mannered and handsome, Dr. John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) is a highly educated and respected doctor in the field of tropical medicine, a perfect Prince Charming. The only problem with the intended wedding is the doctor's color. Adding to her father's anxiety is Joanna's insistence that he approve of the marriage before John leaves that evening for his new job.
Turmoil ensues as the much-touted, liberal newspaperman, Drayton, and his successful wife, Christina (Katharine Hepburn) come face to face with their principles and realize that their daughter has grown up to be just what they taught her to be---non-prejudicial. John's parents are equally upset with their son's choice of a marriage partner and Tilly, the Drayton's African-American maid is outright piqued.
But as this charming love story unfolds, even Christina is drawn into her daughter's blissful world of young love and soon is swept up in the excitement of the engagement. However, her doe-eyed approval only infuriates the pragmatic Drayton who cusses his way through this film. John's father and Tilly vent their feelings in a similar manner. Other concerns for parents may be the portrayal of social drinking, the use of a derogatory racial term and Christina's pointed question about her daughter's sexual relationship with the doctor.
From sweaty palms to nervous jitters, watching the encounters of this bi-racial couple and their parents in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? may bring back memories to anyone who's experienced the ordeal of that first meeting. For me personally, I was much happier to watch this enchanting couple than to have to relive it myself.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?.
How does Matthew Drayton’s experience with the distasteful ice-cream he orders at the drive-in, parallel the message of the movie?
Although John was a seemingly ideal man for their daughter, the Draytons had reservations because of his color. John’s parents are also upset. Are there any cultural, social, religious or racial issues that would be difficult for you to accept in your child’s fiance? How well do you think your family lives the values and morals you espouse.