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Save the Last Dance
Time Out says
In Footloose, if memory serves, young Kevin Bacon was the cool city kid who got toes tapping and pulses racing in some small Midwestern burg by introducing the hicks to...Kenny Loggins. Flash forward 17 years and it's immediately apparent that time has stood still in Middle America. Model student Sara (Stiles) favours knitwear and braids, and dreams of being a ballerina. Then - and we're still stuck in a Readers' Digest opening credit sequence, I'm afraid - mom dies in her mad rush to get to her daughter's Julliard audition (which she flunks anyway) and a dejected Sara hangs up her ballet shoes. She moves into her estranged dad's fleapit Chicago apartment and adjusts to being the only white face in her new school. This race element is the most interesting aspect of the film. Urban hip has always condescended to provincial square but rarely has it been so overtly identified as black hip, white square. Sara comes under the protective tutelage of first Chenille (Washington), then Chenille's brother Derek (Thomas), who teaches her to dance for real. As teen melodrama, well, Carter's film is what it is; but for such a mainstream black-consciousness movie, at least it doesn't shy from addressing some touchy issues about masculinity, parenthood, and black attitudes to whites.