While on the surface Save the Last Dance seems like the kind of movie that would be suitable for teenagers and up, in actuality it deals with some very adult themes and the language is terrible. If you happen to live in a ghetto and your kids go to schools like the one in this movie, than they are already immersed in the roughest part of society, and this movie will seem like a stupid fairy tale to them. If they haven’t been exposed, then let their illusions about our society remain intact for a few more years and steer them clear. However, there is a lot to discuss in this movie from teenage pregnancy to prejudice, and interracial relationships.
I happen to like dance related movies, and the review I did of Footloose has the best stats of all our archived episodes. I like Julia Stiles, who appeared in all three of the Bourne movies as well as the Prince and Me. This was one of her earlier roles.
Music: The song played in this episode is “All or Nothing,” sung by Athena Cage, made for the movie.
Lesson of the song is that if it’s worth doing than give it your all.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians [3:23]-24
Sara’s friend from her old school is presented as a stereotypical “Christian friend,” openly praying for Sarah during the flashbacks at the beginning of the movie. She appears a little later on in a phone conversation with Sarah, using God’s name in vain right after again saying she’ll pray for Sarah and appearing to be blatantly prejudice against black people. This stereotype of the self-righteous Christian being hypocritical is a good reminder to Christians to take care to portray Christ in all our interactions with the rest of the world so that our actions do not turn our words into so much nonsense.
Sara’s friend and the woman on the bus show the “typical” prejudice against a white girl having a relationship with a black boy, but Save the Last Dance shows the opposite form of prejudice as well.
Derek’s friend tells Sara that Nikkie, Derek’s ex-girlfriend, looks better dancing with Derek because Sara is always going to be “milk.”
Nikki confronts Sara over being an invader who comes in and takes all the good men.
Chenille backs up Nikki and tells Sara that Derek is one of only a handful of decent men. She disparages Sara’s belief that there is only one world where everyone is the same.
Sara seems to be truly blind to the so called racial differences, but her friends and enemies seem intent on reminding her that she’s invading into a culture where she doesn’t belong. In the Bible, the only true interracial marriage is one between a believer and a nonbeliever. See this article on interracial marriage for more information.
Fatherhood is explored at length in Save the Last Dance through two supporting characters. The first character is Kenny, the teenage father of Chenille’s baby boy. Chenille and Kenny fight constantly throughout the movie, only making up near the end, and the fights center mainly around Kenny’s inability to contribute financially to the raising of his son. Chenille and Kenny’s arguments portray very plainly some of the consequences of premarital sex and the perpetuation of the single parent family. Chenille has little to no parental role models, having a mother in prison for drug abuse and a deadbeat father who left when she was young. She perpetuates this model by having a child out of wedlock.
The other father figure in Save the Last Dance is Sara’s father, Roy. Though it isn’t really said explicitly, Roy appears to have been another “deadbeat” dad. Separated from Sara’s mother, he had little to do with Sara’s upbringing, but he makes a positive attempt to be a good father when Sara comes to live with him after the death of her mother. One of the most touching scenes of the movie is when Sara tells Roy she is upset that Derek and she argued because she wants someone at her audition who loves her, and Roy simply tells her that he loves her. And he then demonstrates that love by not only being at her audition, but taking her there.
Between the two dads, one is continually absent in his child’s life while the other is showing his love by being there. God, our heavenly father, demonstrated his love for us by “being there” in the ultimate sense:
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John [15:13]
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8
Sara’s turning to Derek instead of her father for someone to love her demonstrates one of the saddest elements of our broken-family culture today. Girls who do not have fathers who openly and continuously display real love for their daughters tend to turn to unwise relationships to fulfill that hole in their lives. If you are one of those who is seeking to fill that hole in your life with relationships, let me urge you to look to a personal relationship with Jesus first. People will always fail you, but God will not. Do you need God?
Be sure to check out Focus on the Family’s review of Save the Last Dance at PluggedIn.com
I did not discuss dance in this AYJW episode, so if you want to hear my perspective on this very hot topic, be sure to check out the review I did of Footloose.
Did you see that?
The CW’s new television series, The Tomorrow People, contains a lot of evolutionary mumbo jumbo about a new “species” of mankind that is superior due to a mutation that grants the powers of telekinesis, telepathy, and teleportation. All well and good, if evolution actually worked that way, but the only observed mutations in the human genome are not beneficial, and often very harmful. These “next step in human evolution” fictional stories just serve to highlight a very severe problem with the legitimacy of evolution, proving once again that evolution makes good fiction because it’s pure fantasy.
Share your feedback!
What did you think of Save the Last Dance? We would like to know, even if just your reactions to the trailer or the topics we shared in this episode. Or what general critical-thinking and entertainment thoughts or questions do you have? Would you like to suggest a movie or TV show for us to give a Christian movie review with critical thinking?
- Comment on the shownotes
- Call (903) 231-2221 to leave a voicemail
- Email feedback@AreYouJustWatching.com (audio files welcome)
Please connect with us
Check out more Noodle.mx Network shows
- The Audacity to Podcast: "How-to" podcast about podcasting
- Beyond the To-Do List: Personal and professional productivity
- The Productive Woman: Productivity for busy women
- ONCE: Once Upon a Time podcast
- Welcome to Level Seven: Agents of SHIELD and Marvel’s cinematic universe podcast
- Are You Just Watching?: Movie reviews with Christian critical thinking
- the Ramen Noodle: Family-friendly clean comedy