Save the Last Dance

January 12th, 2001


more trailers Save the Last Dance

Still of Julia Stiles in Save the Last DanceStill of Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas in Save the Last DanceStill of Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas in Save the Last DanceStill of Terry Kinney in Save the Last DanceStill of Kerry Washington in Save the Last DanceStill of Sean Patrick Thomas in Save the Last Dance

A white midwestern girl moves to Chicago, where her new boyfriend is a black teen from the South Side with a rough, semi-criminal past.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 5.9/10 (25,617 voted)

Critic's Score: 53/100

Director: Thomas Carter

Stars: Julia Stiles, Sean Patrick Thomas, Kerry Washington

Sara wants to be a ballerina, but her dreams are cut short by the sudden death of her mother. She moves in with her father, who she has not seen for a long time. He lives on the other side of town, in a predominantly Black neighborhood. She gets transferred to a new school where she is one of the few White students there. She becomes friends with Chenille, and later, falls in love with Chenille's brother, Derek.

Writers: Duane Adler, Duane Adler

Julia Stiles - Sara
Sean Patrick Thomas - Derek
Kerry Washington - Chenille
Fredro Starr - Malakai
Terry Kinney - Roy
Bianca Lawson - Nikki
Vince Green - Snookie
Garland Whitt - Kenny
Elisabeth Oas - Diggy
Artel Great - Arvel (as Artel Jarod Walker)
Cory Stewart - Lip
Jennifer Anglin - Glynn
Dorothy Martin - Momma Dean
Kim Tlusty - Lindsay
Felicia Fields - Woman on Train

Taglines: The Only Person You Need To Be Is Yourself.


Official Website: Paramount |

Release Date: 12 January 2001

Filming Locations: CTA Rail System, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $13,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $27,526,443 (USA) (14 January 2001) (2230 Screens)

Gross: $91,057,006 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Director Thomas Carter cast Julia Stiles in the role of Sara after seeing her "table dance" in 10 Things I Hate About You.

Continuity: When Derek and Malakai leave Stepps through the back door after Malakai's fight, the door is alternately open/closed between shots.

[about Malakai]
Sara: So you're not down with the things he does, but you're still down with him? That makes perfect sense. I understand.
Derek: He's my friend, Sara. You don't have to understand.

User Review

Clichéd, but better than I expected it to be


When Sara's mother is killed in a car accident she comes to live in a predominately black area in Chicago. She is befriended by black Chenille and starts to fall for her brother Derek. Derek teaches her the latest hip-hop dances to help her fit in and together they begin to fall for each other. However a white girl seeing a clever black man is never going to be popular and the couple must overcome many obstacles to see their dreams and be true to themselves.

Did someone say `a black Dirty Dancing?' Essentially that's what this is, although the story is naturally a bit more urban than that film. The story is about overcoming to reach your dreams, and it does it quite well – better than I expected. The love story is nice without being too romanticised. The obstacles are the usual things in an `urban' film – the challenge of mixed race relationships, the temptation to back up your crew instead of getting out etc. These are quite cliched but are still well done.

My main problem came with the strength of black culture in the film…not every black person (even in a poor area) talks like a gangsta…and not everyone says `aiiiirite' – and why did Sara only become accepted when she started to imitate black culture and speak in that way. It may be realistic, but I felt that Sara should have been allowed to be herself rather than be seen to be assimilated into the hip-hop culture (I don't mean that she shouldn't have got involved with the scene – but did she have to lose part of herself to get there?). However these are minor side issues that many people won't even think about.

The cast are good for MTV teens. Julia Stiles is cool and Thomas is cute and charming. The rest of the cast fall into so many black stereotypes – we have gangsta friend, baby mothers galore, useless baby father, jealous bitchy ex-girlfriends etc. However they are just what you expect so I wasn't too upset. Fredro Starr was cool as Malakai – even if the character was just one big hood cliché.

The soundtrack is hot and the dance scenes are sexy – I wish I could do it! They are much more enjoyable than Dirty Dancing's scenes – although some day this will feel dated too! Overall I expected another piece of MTV teen tat, but I was pleasantly surprised by a story that, despite being ridden with clichés, is actually very involving and enjoyable.