Save the Last Dance

Julia Stiles, Sean Patrick Thomas

Directed by Thomas Carter
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
January 12, 2001

Dance 10, Plot 0

Can a suburban white chick who lives for ballet find love with an inner-city black dude who dances to a hip-hop beat? Can Hollywood find the nerve to drag out yet another update of Romeo and Juliet? The answer to both questions is, You better believe it. The alternative would be fresh thinking, and this co-production by Paramount and MTV Films saved its inspiration for the casting.

Julia Stiles (State and Main) would make a Juliet to die for in any age. As Sara from the Illinois burbs, this dancer with ambitions to attend Juilliard comes to a mostly black high school in Chicago reeling from culture shock, the death of her mother in a car crash and co-existence with her estranged father, Roy (Terry Kinney), a jazz trumpeter who lives in a dump apartment on the South Side.

Sean Patrick Thomas (Cruel Intentions) plays Derek, a hotshot Romeo on the dance floor and catnip to the sisters who admire his ambitions: He dreams of going to medical school and has the grades to make it. His homeys, led by Malakai (Fredro Starr), want him back in the gang life, not teaching dance steps to a white girl. Their romance makes Sara and Derek outcasts. Director Thomas Carter (Swing Kids, Metro) can't sidestep the script's cliches, so he wisely cuts to the fancy footwork whenever possible. It's way obvious that doubles are filling in for the more intricate steps — think Jennifer Beals in Flashdance — but Stiles and Thomas supply what this movie needs most: a heartbeat.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “You Oughta Know”

    Alanis Morissette | 1995

    This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

    More Song Stories entries »