SAVE THE LAST DANCE
It is very difficult to be the minority in any situation. When one is the minority in race, culture and education the difficulty is compounded.

REVIEW BY BETTY HAMM

SAVE THE LAST DANCE
(2001)


This page was created on March 20, 2001
This page was last updated on May 29, 2005

Click to enlargeDirected by Thomas Carter
Story by Duane Adler
Screenplay by: Duane Adler and Cheryl Edwards

Julia Stiles .... Sara Sean
Patrick Thomas .... Derek
Kerry Washington .... Chenille
Fredro Starr .... Malakai
Terry Kinney .... Roy
Bianca Lawson .... Nikki
Vince Green .... Snookie
Garland Whitt .... Kenny
Elisabeth Oas .... Diggy
Artel Jarod Walker .... Arvel
Cory Stewart .... Lip
Jennifer Anglin .... Glynn
Dorothy Martin .... Momma Dean
Kim Tlusty .... Lindsay

Produced by Marie Cantin (co-producer), Robert W. Cort (producer), Douglas Curtis (co-producer and line producer), Scarlett Lacey (associate producer), David Madden (producer)
Original music by Mark Isham
Cinematography by Robbie Greenberg
Film Editing by Peter E. Berger

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug references.


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1. Ballad Of Fire Starr (Theme From "Save The Last Dance") - Fredro Starr 2. You - Lucy Pearl/Q-Tip/Snoop Dogg 3. Bonafide - X-2-C 4. Crazy - K-Ci & JoJo 5. You Make Me Sick - Pink 6. U Know What's Up - Donell Jones 7. Move It Slow - Kevon Edmonds 8. Murder She Wrote - Chaka Demus & Pliers 9. Breathe And Stop - Q-Tip 10. You Can Do It - Ice Cube/Mack 10/Ms. Toi 11. My Window - Soulbone 12. Only You - 112/The Notorious B.I.G. 13. Get It On Tonite - Montell Jordan 14. All Or Nothing - Athena Cage

The Only Person You Need To Be Is Yourself.

STUDIO SYNOPSIS:
Click to enlargeSara's life is devoted to dance - she wants nothing more then to make it into New York's famous Julliard School. But whn tragedy strikes and she loses her mom, her hopes are dashed and she buries her dreams of ever attending the country's best dance school.

Click to enlargeWithout her mom to support her, Sara moves to the tough streets of Chicago's south side to live with her Dad - a down on his luck jazz musician who she barely knows. Her new school's a totally different world from the small town she grew up in, but Sara's quick comebacks and sassy attitude earn her the quick respect and friendship of straight-talking Chenille. But it's Chenille's brother Derek, the cool and good looking star of the school who grabs Sara's attention. He plays it up tough, but he also has the smarts and a plan to go to medical school.

Click to enlargeWhen Chenille takes Sara to Steppes, the neighbourhood hang, she gets her first taste of hip-hop - and Derek's the one to show her the moves. When they discover they share a passion for dance, hey discover that there's something deeper going on - a passon for each other. But they soon find out the hard way that the must not only overcome their own differences, but the resentment and bad blood of their friends and family. As the school year goes on, the couple finds that their affection and devotion to each outher could ultimately threaten Derek's hopes for a better life and Sara's rediscovery of her dance.

Yet against all odds they overcome the obstacles to their dreams and discover that ultimately the only person you have to be is...yourself.

It is very difficult to be the minority in any situation. When one is the minority in race, culture and education the difficulty is compounded.

REVIEW BY BETTY HAMM
bhamm@efcn.org
Arts Director
Evangelical Free Church,
Naperville Il (630)983-3232
http://www.efcn.org

Are we an eternal victim of our environment?

Click to enlarge?Save the Last Dance? at first glance is a movie about ?white girl meets black boy?can romance survive clash of cultures?? But it is more than that. We definitely watch the struggle of Sara Johnson, played by Julia Stiles, trying to survive in a very different and at times hostile environment.

It is very difficult to be the minority in any situation. When one is the minority in race, culture and education the difficulty is compounded.

Click to enlargeSara rises to the challenge. She makes friends and attempts to learn and understand the culture and eventually falls in love with a black youth, Derek, played by Sean Patrick Thomas. However, I do not believe that the film asks the question ?can an inter-racial relationship work?? That question has been asked and answered before even ?Guest Who?s Coming to Dinner? hit it head on.

What ?Save the Last Dance? asks is ?can you break free from your environment and your history??

Click to enlargeAs we watch the lives of these young people come into focus, we see many things. Sara is crippled by guilt over her mother?s death. Derek is handicapped by his close friendship with Malachi, a drug dealing ex-con. Malachi does not see that he has a prayer of getting out of his Chicago ghetto. He tells Derek, I don?t have the chance you have; I won?t be going to college; I won?t be getting out of here; ?All I have is my respect.? His fight for his respect embroils him in a deadly gang war.

Click to enlargeThere is a lot of hostility toward Sara by the black girls in her school. Even Chenille, Derek?s sister and Sara?s friend tells Sara that she understands how the girls feel. She tells Sara that Derek is not like the other guys who are either dealing drugs, facing time or making babies and leaving. Derek will be different; he will be somebody.

Click to enlargeThe feelings run high and hot because Derek wants to be a doctor and is trying to get into Georgetown. He has the brains and the desire to make it, but Derek will not make it if he allows Malachi to drag him back to crime. Derek must leave Malachi and his past. Sara must leave her guilt and dance her way into Julliard. Can we shake off our past, our culture, our environment and create a new future of hope for ourselves?

The Old Testament tells us that the sins of the father will be visited on the children, on the third and fourth generations. (Exodus 20:5) Not very hopeful. However, the New Testament tells us that we can become new in Christ and that the old is forgotten. (2Corinthians 5:17) It is interesting that Derek?s friend is Malachi. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. He is the last prophet before approximately 300 years of silence not broken until John the Baptist who declares that the Lord is coming. Derek can choose to stay under the old law of his neighborhood and suffer for his father?s sins or he can step into the new and face a life of hope.

MORE PHOTOS
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PRESSING TOWARD THE GOAL

Climb every mountain, ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow, ?til you find your dream.

-OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN (1895?1960)

Everyone should have a goal for which he is willing to exchange a piece of his life.
-CARLYLE BOEHME

More men fail through lack of purpose than through lack of talent.
-BILLY SUNDAY (1862?1935)

Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight.
-THOMAS CARLYLE (1795?1881)

What is important is not where you come from but where you are going.
-BERNIE RHODES

If it?s going to be, it?s up to me.
-ROBERT HAROLD SCHULLER (1926? )

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
-ST. PAUL, Philip. 3:14 KJV

MY COMMENTS
Subject: Save_The_Last_Dance
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002
From: Jordan

I came across this page on accident, but it caght my eye, so I felt the need to stop by and post my comments. I don't know where you guys got God from! The movie has nothing to do with God in the inner-city. The movie shows strength of character, and portrays the lives of several different people. Not once do we see one of them pray or ask for God's help. Now, as someone who lives in the "ghetto", I take offense to how you describe the whole situation. The 'hood is a very misunderstood place, and nobody can explain or understand it until they live in the 'hood, and they spend a few days in the life I've lived since I was born. All this "white girl meets black boy" isn't really true. You know, it is 2002, and yet you guys act like white gurl meets black boy has never occured before! I happened to be an Asian, Latina, Caucasian, and Black mix, with my mother being 1/4 Venezuelan, 1/4 Costa Rican, 1/4 Mexican, and 1/4 Fillipina, while my father was 1/4 Black, and 3/4 Caucasian. Growing up, when i dated black or Hispanic men, nobody gave me any grief, and it was no big deal. Interracial dating/marriage has been going on for years, yet since thsi movie came out, everyone acts as though it's the newest thing to ever happen, and it gets everyone thinking. But, I just want to thank you for sharing your views on this whole movie, and it's always nice to hear what other people think, and also very refreshing. Good luck with your page, and with your life in general! Feel free to contact me, My e-mail is
eastsideballa12@hotmail.com,
or BabeeBoo12@blackplanet.com.
Get at me! Here's my picture, just so you have an idea of what such a racially mixed girl looks like!
Take care Jordan

LOVE JULIA STILES
Subject: Save The Last Dance
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002
From: lil rosie

well i really love Julia Stiles and i wish that she would sell tapes of how to learn how to dance like she did on Save The Last Dance !

I DISAGREE
Subject: Save_The_Last_Dance
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002
From: Tish

I disagree. Faith in God has nothing to do with this movie. It's about believing in yourself and realizing that you can do anything you want to do if you have the will. The reason God wasn't mentioned in this movie was because it has nothing to DO with the movie or the plot. What is this discussion? God in the Ghetto or something?
Tish

Response: I understand your view. It is a secular film. It is not about God. The point of Hollywood Jesus is to look beyond the obvious and see the spiritual connections that is in every human story. Thanks for writing. -David

MORE FAITH IN GOD
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001
From: Jordanna

I agree with Shelly Euverman when she says the movie could have been better if the girl (Sara, played by Julia Stiles) put more faith in God. Like Shelly said it is Hollywood, they never mention God because this could mean low ratings and people are not as interested in seeing a religious movie. This movie was well done because it shows teenagers struggling with every day ordeals. The movie really demonstrates to others what is really happing now for teenagers in this day and age. This is important for teenagers to realize that others are struggling with the same problems, but as a Christian it would be nice to see in a movie were a young teenager turns to Christ for help. For Hollywood this would never happen because Hollywood wants to make money. This movie is well done and I believe it really helps teens to understand the decisions they may have to make.
Jordanna

RACE AND FAITH
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001
From: Shelley Euverman Gr.11

I saw Save the Last Dance last night with a group of friends. I enjoyed watching this movie very much, and enjoyed watching the dancing that took place on screen. The movie is about a young girl whose mother has died in a car crash. The girl feels responsible for her death because she feels it was the pressure of her dancing that caused the crash. Thn she moves to the city, with her father who she's had no contact with and resents him, and her dancing for the death of her mother. In the city she lives in a ghetto, where she attends an all African American highschool were she starts to adapt of the life in a ghetto. The movie goes on teaching her the value of love for dancing and how she has to overcome her emotions of her mother to keep on dancing.

I think the movie showed a lot about race and keeping you faith in something. She had to learn to adapt to a new place with new people, and had to learn to be accepted. SHe also learn how to come over her emotions from the death of her mother, to continue her dancing. It showed in the movie the young girl had a lot of courage to face her fear of dancing after the accident. She showed that you must'nt give up hope, because sometimes you have to keep on going, and put up a fight. Just like the young man did in the movie. He told her to keep on going. To do what she wanted and not to worry of what others think of her. There was also a lesson about love. That a true relationship isn't based on what people think of you when you're together, but really what you think of one another.

I thought the movie was well done, and showed many teenagers how hard life really is. The movie could have been made better with the girl putting her faith into God and church instead of her dancing in the young men, but it's hollywood so what can we expect. I still think the movie has a lot a good values for teenagers today.
Shelley Euverman Gr.11

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Save The Last Dance ? 2001 Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.