In this romantic drama, two teenagers in love struggle to look past their differences. After the unexpected death of her mother, Sarah Johnson (Julia Stiles) moves to Chicago to live with her father. Knowing no one at her new school and not at home in a gritty, inner-city high school, Sarah has trouble adjusting, but she soon becomes friends with ...Read MoreIn this romantic drama, two teenagers in love struggle to look past their differences. After the unexpected death of her mother, Sarah Johnson (Julia Stiles) moves to Chicago to live with her father. Knowing no one at her new school and not at home in a gritty, inner-city high school, Sarah has trouble adjusting, but she soon becomes friends with Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas), who has talent and street smarts but a checkered past. Sarah was an avid student of ballet before her mother's death sidelined her studies, while Derek has some serious hip-hop moves, and their mutual love of dance leads their friendship into something deeper. However, since Sarah is white and Derek is black, they have more to contend with than the average high school couple; Sarah gets static from Nikki (Bianca Lawson), Derek's former girlfriend, while Derek has to deal with his friend Malakai (Fredro Starr), who is still deep in the thug life Derek is trying to avoid. Save the Last Dance was directed by Thomas Carter, who previously examined the sociopolitical side of dancing in Swing Kids. Mark Deming, RoviRead Less
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Julia Stiles, Sean Patrick Thomas, Kerry Washington, Fredro Starr, Terry Kinney, Bianca Lawson. New in new packaging. Language: English. Run time: 112 mins. Originally released: 2001. With her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina decimated by the accidental death of her mother, Sara Johnson (Stiles) is forced to move from her quiet Midwestern town to her father's ghetto apartment on the south side of Chicago. The stark urban environment's contrast of race and class compound Sara's loss and her misplaced guilt, which are both exacerbated by the fact that her mother had been en route to her dance performance at the time of her death. But when she meets Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas), a popular black student with a passion for hip-hop and a future brighter than his troubled past, her repressed ambition and sorrow are released through a revitalized interest in the cathartic and expressive power of dance. Their friendship and mutual interest in dancing inexorably lead to a passionate romance that raises the sadly typical, bigoted resistance from Sara's white father and Derek's black friends. Widely hailed by critics for being as sophisticated and intelligent as it is viscerally passionate, SAVE THE LAST DANCE enjoyed the top of the American box office in its first weekend in release, playing to sold out shows across the country, a landslide affirmation that Sara and Derek are not as alone as they think.