"Double-jointed cheerleader sh*t"
Save the Last Dance
Review by Ross Anthony

Suburban raised Julia Stiles has no other dream than dancing her way into Juilliard Ballet School. All she needs is her mom's presence at the audition. Very early on in the movie her mother is killed in a car accident. The trauma Save the Last Dancecauses her to give up dancing, but it's the logistics of guardianship, which lands her on a sofa bed at her somewhat estranged father's house smack dab in the middle of a black Chicago neighborhood.

Actually, the tension between her and her jazz musician father oscillates nicely, though is never quite juiced. Imperfectly, he fumbles for her forgiveness regarding past events left unspecified but no doubt centering around his departure. She's not jumping into his arms too quickly.

The real story is her relationship with a slick, bright, tough hip-hopster and her integration into the hood.

Aside from a sweetly edited finale dance solo, Stiles doesn't exactly fill the ballet dancer shoes, though she has no problem stepping into a lead role and commanding the production. I like this actress. In fact, she choked me up in two separate scenes. And though charming and funny in other scenes, the lead Save the Last Dancemale Sean Patrick Thomas, couldn't find the right angle to complement her tears, paling when the scenes get deeply emotional. Not that he has the best dialogue to work with.

Teaching Stiles the finer points of hip-hop dancing, Thomas shines.

Aside from the father angle, which was truncated mid blossom, this is a formula fish out of water, dancer flick. Not too schmaltzy, not too edgy. She should have saved the last dance for her father.



  • Save the Last Dance. Copyright © 2001. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Julia Stiles, Sean Patrick Thomas, Terry Kinney, Fredro Starr.
  • Directed by Thomas Carter.
  • Written by Duane Adler, Cheryl Edwards. Story by Duane Adler.
  • Produced by Robert Cort and David Madden at MTV/Paramount.



Grade..........................B


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Thursday, 21-Oct-2010 15:53:41 PDT