Save the Last Dance

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Save the Last Dance
SaveTheLastDance.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byThomas Carter
Produced byRobert W. Cort
David Madden
Screenplay byDuane Adler
Cheryl Edwards
Story byDuane Adler
StarringJulia Stiles
Sean Patrick Thomas
Kerry Washington
Terry Kinney
Music byMark Isham
CinematographyRobbie Greenberg
Editing byPeter Berger
Jeff Canavan
Fritz Feick
StudioMTV Films
Cort/Madden Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release datesJanuary 12, 2001 (2001-01-12)
Running time112 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$13 million
Box office$131,706,809
 
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Save the Last Dance
SaveTheLastDance.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byThomas Carter
Produced byRobert W. Cort
David Madden
Screenplay byDuane Adler
Cheryl Edwards
Story byDuane Adler
StarringJulia Stiles
Sean Patrick Thomas
Kerry Washington
Terry Kinney
Music byMark Isham
CinematographyRobbie Greenberg
Editing byPeter Berger
Jeff Canavan
Fritz Feick
StudioMTV Films
Cort/Madden Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release datesJanuary 12, 2001 (2001-01-12)
Running time112 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$13 million
Box office$131,706,809

Save the Last Dance is a 2001 American film produced by MTV Films, directed by Thomas Carter and released by Paramount Pictures on January 12, 2001. The film stars Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas as a teenage interracial couple in Chicago who work together to help the main character, played by Stiles, train for a dance audition. A direct-to-video sequel, Save the Last Dance 2, was released in 2006.

Plot[edit]

Sara Johnson, a promising dancer in high school, hopes to be admitted to study at Juilliard School and invites her mother to attend the audition. She fails the audition and soon thereafter learns that her mother has been involved in a fatal car accident in her haste to get to the audition.

After her mother's death, Sara is wracked by guilt and gives up on ballet. She moves in with her estranged father and transfers to an urban Chicago school. At her new high school, Sara is one of a handful of white students but quickly befriends Chenille, a single teen mother who is having relationship problems. Chenille invites Sara to a dance club called STEPPS, where she has her first experience of dancing to hip hop rhythms. At STEPPS, Sara meets Derek, Chenille's brother and a student with dreams of ultimately attending Georgetown Medical School. He decides to help Sara develop her dancing skills by incorporating more hip hop into her style. As they become closer, Derek takes a reluctant Sara to the Joffrey Ballet and, afterwards, Sara confides in him all about her mother and her dreams. Later, they return to the club and amaze others with their dancing. Having already achieved his dream of being accepted at Georgetown University for college, Derek convinces her that she needs to do what she wants, and to follow her dreams of Juilliard. Eventually, Sara and Derek begin a relationship.

At school, Nikki, Derek's ex-girlfriend, picks a fight with Sara. Chenille tells Sara that she didn't approve of the fight but can understand the bitterness since Sara, a white girl, is seen as stealing one of the few half-decent black men in the school. Because of this, Sara breaks up with Derek. Meanwhile, Derek must deal with his friend Malaki, who is heavily into the gang lifestyle that Derek is trying to leave. Derek accepts Malaki's plea for support in a drive-by for the same time as Sara's audition.

After hearing what Chenille told Sara, Derek changes his mind and turns his back on Malaki to attend Sara's audition. He arrives at a crucial point to offer her encouragement and moral support. After her audition, Sara is accepted and she apparently rekindles her relationship with Derek. Meanwhile, the drive-by becomes botched and Malaki is arrested. The film closes as Sara, Derek, Chenille, and their friends meet up at STEPPS to celebrate Sara's successful audition.

Cast[edit]

Dance Lighting[edit]

Lighting for the dance sequences was composed by Internationally recognized dance lighting designer Kevin Dreyer.

Box office and reception[edit]

The film debuted at #1 at the North American box office making $27.5 million in its opening weekend. Though the film had a 44% decline in earnings the following weekend, it was still enough to keep the film at the top spot for another week.

The film was a surprise success in theaters especially with the teenage female audience, and is regarded as having two of the best breakthrough performances for its leading actors, Stiles, and especially Thomas.[citation needed] It was a financial success as well, with box-office earnings of $91,057,006 in the US alone and more than $130 million mark worldwide.[1]

Save the Last Dance was also successful at a number of movie awards, most notably:

Despite these awards, the movie received mixed review. Rotten Tomatoes' rating assesses the film as "Rotten," with 47 of 92 reviewers panning the film, and summarizes the critical consensus as "This teen romance flick feels like a predictable rehashing of other movies."[2] Some of the reviews marked "fresh" are measured in their enthusiasm, with remarks such as, "Look elsewhere for reality or good drama. Look here, however, if you're in the mood for a good heaping of fantasy and some fun"; "a decent, well-put-together romantic drama to hold hands to on the weekend"; and "A sometimes predictable, but mostly enjoyable tale." Salon's reviewer called the film "a bad, friendly, enjoyable movie," observing that "for all its dumb clichés it offers the basic appeal of teen movies: the pleasure of watching kids be kids, acting as they do among themselves instead of how parents and teachers expect them to act."[3] Roger Ebert rated it three stars out of four, stating that "the setup promises cliches, but the development is intelligent, the characters are more complicated than we expect, and the ending doesn't tie everything up in a predictable way."[4]

Soundtrack[edit]

YearTitleChart positionsCertifications
(sales thresholds)
U.S.U.S. R&B
2000Save the Last Dance32
  • US: 2x Platinum

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Save the Last Dance (2001), Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  2. ^ Save the Last Dance: Critical Consensus at Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  3. ^ Charles Taylor. "Save the Last Dance" (review), Salon, January 12, 2001. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  4. ^ Roger Ebert, Save The Last Dance, Chicago Sun Times, 2001-01-12

External links[edit]