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Julia Stiles hits another homerun with her latest release Save the Last Dance It opened in theaters January 2001 Frankly there arent many teen movies that dont insult ones intelligence Often theyre either preachy or total fluff Save the last Dance is one of the exceptions Its main characters arent dumb kids as were all too used to seeing they are quite the opposite This film is smart real serious and a lot of fun at the same time Most importantly it shows a strong and intelligent man and woman a believable romance and it has characters who are able to change and grow As the film opens 17-year-old Sara is moving from a white suburb to multicultural Chicago where shell live with her estranged father Roy Terry Kinney Her mother recently died in a car-accident as she rushed to see her daughter audition for Juilliard When she didnt see her mother in the audience she got confused frustrated and lost her confidence Sara is now guilt-ridden and blames herself for the death of her mother Her future must look scary to her How is she going to deal with life in a strange city with a father she doesnt know and a new school environment Dont expect Sara to be a crying mess Her grief isnt expressed in a lot of weeping Shes a little depressed has her guard up and keeps tabs on her surroundings This serves her well and she keeps her cool In her new school she is one of very few Caucasian people In her first English class she meets Derek Sean Patrick Thomas and they debate the reading habits of society Sara befriends Chenille Kerry Washington who turns out to be Dereks sister Chenille invites her to the hip-hop club Steppes where Derek dares Sara to dance -- talk about a fish out of water Sara tries She has rhythm but not the moves to go with it Derek
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