The Good

Well choreographed dance scenes.

The Bad

This story has milquetoast written all over it.

Save the Last Dance tells the triumphant story of Sarah Johnson (Julia Stiles). When her mother dies, she moves to Chicago to live with her father. Adjusting to this urban area is difficult, but with the help of Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas) she learns not only how to get along, but how to love as well. In the midst of all this, the two of them merge the words of hip hop and ballet dancing (something that Sarah put aside when she lost her mother. As Sean is Black and Sarah is white, this creates a problem not only for them, but the people around them. In the end, these two seem to realize that their love for one another will see them through any of the possible struggles they might encounter. It also doesn't hurt that Derek fully supports Sarah in her study of ballet.

All in all, Save the Last Dance is an inspirational film that, while highly predictable, will certainly get your feet moving.



Director Thomas Carter discusses making this film, how the project got started, putting together the elaborate dance moves, and grounding this film in the characters. While I am not saying that Save the Last Dance is the best movie on this subject I have ever seen, it is certainly entertaining. Thomas Carter does a good job of walking us through this movie and making his execution of this film seem effortless.

Making of Save the Last Dance

Nothing too special here but I could see the diehard fans of this movie embracing this section. It features the usual gaggle of actors and creative types talking about the project, the subject matter, and why they wanted to be involved. We also get to see (in a tiny microcosm), how they pulled off the moves that they did. All in all, unless you absolutely loved this movie, you can skip this.

Music Video - "Crazy" by K-Ci & JoJo

The Writers' Story

I went into this with higher hopes mainly because, as a writer, I was hoping I could find something in here to relate to more. Sadly, this was only okay. We get to find out about the genesis of the story and script, and while some of that is interesting, I guess I wanted to see more. In fact, I'd love there to be a feature length featurette that documents a writers job as they work on a movie from shooting to post production.

Deleted Scenes

In Step: The Choreographers' Story

This featurette focuses on guess what? The dancing. I don't know what it is but lately, since I reviewed White Nights, I have really gotten into movies with dancing in them. That probably explains why I enjoyed this movie, but I also think it's what made me interested in this featurette. While it isn't 100% about the dancing, there was enough here to make me realize what these folks go through to achieve the high levels of their art.

Save the Last Dance - A Retrospective

What It Takes

An interesting look at the Chicago Academy of the Arts and the people who go there. In all honesty, I think they should have made a longer featurette that focused exclusively on this. Heck, they could make a whole film and it would probably be very interesting. The people that attend this school are very talented, however they are also performers which means there is going to be a great deal of drama. Come to think of it, this could also be a reality show...


Enhanced Wide Screen Letterbox for 16x9 TV. A thing I really appreciated about this film was that it was flashy, but the way it was edited didn't get in the way of the dancing. A lot of times things are cut so quickly that I can't even tell what's going on. For this film, the movements were structured in such a way that they followed the songs more than anything else. The image quality was pretty solid on this DVD as well.


Dolby Digital. When this movie first played in theaters I remember there being something ahead of the curve about it. I could have sworn that it was the music, and that the filmmakers had tapped into the cultural zeitgeist, much like The Fast and the Furious before it. The audio in this movie was solid all the way through, and with the exception of the music being a little too predominant, I think they have leveled things just right.


Julia is dancing in a corner on this front cover with a shot of her and Sean Patrick Thomas in the background. On the back are some more images from this movie, a description, a Special Features listing, a cast list, and technical specs. While I don't know if this film needed a Special Edition, it's here, and if you don't already own it and you like the film, maybe you should?

Final Word

I didn't seem this film in the movie theater because it didn't appeal to me at all. Truth be told, had the MovieWeb powers that be not given it to me to review, I most likely would have never screened Save the Last Dance. That said, I was certainly surprised that I liked this film, and when you consider that the first one made $91 million (on a budget of $13 million) I think it's quite apparent that this movie really touched a nerve. It's also understandable why. We are looking at a movie that is A) very forward thinking, B) speaks to (not at) a generation of younger people and C) could also be a family film.

If that doesn't qualify Save the Last Dance as a 4 quadrant movie than I don't know what does. Still, if you already own the first DVD version, I guess it depends on how much you loved this movie in regards to shelling out money and buying it again.

Save The Last Dance was released January 12, 2001.