Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

   August 24, 2002    Comments Off on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? was eminently satisfying, and has aged wonderfully. Without the visuals, I’m even curious whether the time period would even be distinguishable. (Well, the reactions would seem a bit extreme unless they changed the accents to deep Southern.) While watching “issue” movies and television shows, I am often irritated that the characters don’t seem to be using the best points available in their arguments – not so here. The characters’ reactions are fully developed, realistic, and no one is the bad guy or the hero. Characters are, by turns, selfish, insensitive, fearful, joyful, naive, and compassionate. The film allows for a discussion about racism and race relations without polarization or playing on your sympathies. Quite an accomplishment.

Kudos as well to the Turner Classic Movies channel for having a “host” who tells you little bits about the movie and its stars at the beginning and end. Those of us who weren’t around when these movies came out find these things quite interesting. As I pointed out to my grandfather wrt classical music, often these contextualizing factors help people make personal connections with unfamiliar materials, which can lead to greater enjoyment. I think he still prefers the all-music no-announcing style of radio broadcasting, but he did acknowledge my point that purveyors of non-mainstream culture often have to change to appeal to new audiences.