Box art for Save The Last Dance

Save The Last Dance

drama, romance

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.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 13
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Formulaic teen romance with an MTV spin.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has strong language, and the soundtrack lyrics have even stronger language, including the "N" word. Chenille has an out of wedlock child (and a difficult relationship with the child's father). Derek has to decide whether his loyalty to an old friend (and his sense of guilt at the friend's having taken the rap for them both) means that he must go along with him when he plans to shoot someone. Characters object to the interracial romance, mostly because they are jealous. The characters buy fake IDs so they can go to a club that serves liquor, and they drink and smoke.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the choices Sara and Derek must face. Sara blames herself for her mother's death. How does she overcome that feeling and allow herself to take the risk of auditioning again? How do Derek and Sara get into trouble by not being honest with each other about what is bothering them? How do they sort through their loyalties, Derek to his friend Malakai (Fredro Starr) and Sara to Chenille? Malakai tells Derek, "You act like you don't know who you are anymore." How do Sara and Derek decide who they are? Where do they find their support?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: An admirably heartfelt story with more on its mind than the glory of self-expression.

- Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle, Friday, January 12, 2001

Fresh: For all its dumb clichs it offers the basic appeal of teen movies: the pleasure of watching kids be kids, acting as they do among themselves instead of how parents and teachers expect them to act.

- Charles Taylor,, Friday, January 12, 2001

Rotten: Squanders nice performances by Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas by confining them and the supporting cast to cookie-cutter roles and hackneyed inner-city subplots.

- David Germain, Associated Press, Friday, January 12, 2001

Audience Reviews

0 star

Cliched, contradictory, stereotyped, contrived and boring. Absolute bile and worryingly popular among kids.

- SirPant, Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2 stars

I just found this to be extremely predictable and cheesy. It was an obvious attempt at a modern fairytale, in which the main character pursues her dream. The acting is extremely bad and alarmingly moody. I just felt there was no reason to enjoy this movie.

- ythelastman89, Sunday, November 29, 2009

3 stars

A very good film that mixes a lot of different ideas. Imagine a melting pot of Romeo & Juliet, Bring it on and Boyz n' the hood. It's a good story with a talented young cast and a great feel good film.

- Deano78, Saturday, August 8, 2009