ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


Click on CAPCon Alert
image for explanation
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

Save the Last Dance (2001), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 55
CAP Influence Density: 1.38

Viewing compliments of
United Artists, Las Vegas Trails, Fort Worth, TX

NOT associated with Landover or Westboro Baptist in any way.
AD Space Available

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
Now by MC, Amex, Visa and more!
Your donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE!

The foul language eliminator

Tell them CAP sent you
877-NOCURSE (877-662-8773)

Switch to LifeLine

for Christian
long distance service

The Family Friendly

Internet Service


Christian Media News

A Singles
Christian Network

Your One Stop

For Everything Christian

Free Email Ministry

Subscribe Today!!

Visit this CBX member
Christian Banner eXchange

ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

For FREE text-only versions of our media analysis reports as they are calculated, open this email then click "send." If your browser does not handle this URL format properly, send us a request to add you.

NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

SAVE THE LAST DANCE (PG-13) -- One point saved it.

Driving home after viewing this flick I said to myself "Self, that was a "R-13" for sure." But when the number crunching was done, Save the Last Dance scored at the very bottom of the 55 to 67 point range earned by PG-13 movies in the CAP comparative numeric baseline database. It might was well have been an R-13, but it wasn't. One point saved it. That just "shows to go you" the CAP analysis model is insulated from my personal feelings.

The film opens with Sara taking a train ride to somewhere she does not want to go -- to her father who has been absent from her life for a long time. Her thoughts are revealed to us on film. Sara remembers moments of her dance talents encouraging of a career in ballet. Her memories reflect on the fateful day she was in the middle of an audition at Juilliard. Her mother had promised her she would be there in spite of job pressures. Mom was late keeping her promise and in her rush was killed in a traffic fatality. Sara blamed herself for her mother's death and vowed never to dance again. But fortunately, Derek Reynolds (Sean Patrick Thomas) changes her mind...gently.

Sara's father is not the father type. Though a nice guy, he has no aptitude for fathering and becomes his daughter's roommate and landlord. Though the love is there, the skill is not. And she lets him know in no uncertain terms. While still feeling abandoned at her new home, Chenille Reynolds (Kerry Washington) befriends Sara and shows her the "ropes" of life in a Chicago urban school. A rather complex chain of relationships lead Sara to Derek, Chenille's brother, and unfortunately to Malakai (Fredro Starr) through Derek. Malakai is a street thief and gang lord who saved Derek's bacon once by taking an arrest and doing time for him. Now Derek feels indebted to Malakai, even to the extent of getting Malakai's back just one more time -- just one more. But Derek's direction is taking him elsewhere. Derek has a scholarship to Georgetown to be a medical doctor.

Through Chenille, Sara ends up at a local club and Derek notices that Sara is not skilled at contemporary dancing. Y'know, the rub dancing where the girl squats a little and the guy rubs his frontal pelvis on her posterior while grasping her hips? Yup, there was vulgar dancing in this "dance" movie. So, Derek decides to teach her "modern" dancing. However, unfortunate such skills may be, she learns them well. And such behavior is embedded in an air of complete acceptability and warmth of camaraderie and developing love. And, of course, in this teen club there is ample booze to mask the harshness of and to perpetuate and encourage, whether intentional, the epidemic of teen alcoholism and illegal possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Roger Ebert pointed out a property of Save the Last Dance even I missed. Though completely outside the scoring of this movie, I felt it worthwhile to point out. Sara and Derek, though in love, made no commitments. They had plans. College. Vocation. A future. Maybe their futures will combine someday, but let's take care of priorities first -- wise thinking all teens should take as a template.

There are many other instances of inappropriate behavior in this movie targeted at teens, but it is not a "check your brain at the door" movie. One of the issues touched by this teen flick is interracial relationships. God separated the races for a reason [Gen. 11:9] but I am not wise enough nor experienced with the Scriptures enough to address the issue of interracial boy-girl relationships. I do know that when we each stand before Jesus at Judgment, He will not be black, white, Jew, Baptist, Catholic or anything else. He will be Jesus. And though Jesus was male as a human we are ALL, she and he alike, equal at the foot of the Cross. While there are m-a-n-y admonishments in the Bible against sexual immorality, I know of nowhere in the Scriptures which admonishes us one way or another regarding interracial male-female relationships. There may indeed be such admonishment, but I do not know of it. Feel free to share with us whatever you can point to in chapter/verse.

There are, however, MANY examples in *Save the Last Dance* of behavior which are clearly unacceptable before Him [Ps. 12:8]. Arrogance against a father. Drive by shootings and fighting. Ninety uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary plus one use of the most foul of the foul words [Prov. 8:13]. The use of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. Vulgar and profane words in rap songs [Col. 3:8], some with violence. Vulgar dancing and additional inappropriate touching. Dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure. Stripping to underwear. A female *on* a male in dance. Ghosting of female anatomy through thin clothing. Sex talk/innuendo (some vulgar) [2Pet. 2:18; 1Ths. 4:3]. Dutiful homosexual mentions [1Cor. 6:9-10]. And more. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will reveal what I found.


Applicable text is underlined and fortification is provided in brackets [ ] for special focus if needed.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character. Applicable text is underlined and fortification is provided in brackets [ ] for special focus if needed.
  • Gen. 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create more and more progressively extreme entertainment with impunity] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to willingly watch it].
  • Prov. 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
  • Deut. 5:11 You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • 2Pet. 2:18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they [such as they who perform such entertainment] entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.
  • 1Ths. 4:3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;
  • 1Cor. 6:9-10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God [without being forgiven].


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Save the Last Dance (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • traffic fatality (non graphic)
  • falsification of identification for the purpose of illegally obtaining controlled substance(s)
  • fighting
  • druggie attack of girl
  • drive-by shooting, multiple injuries, multiple shots fired
  • street gun battle, many injuries, much property damage

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • rap songs of violence and profanity
  • arrogance against father, repeatedly
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • 90 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • anatomical reference
  • much sex talk, innuendo
  • stripping to underwear in car
  • immoral sex leading to pregnancy
  • inappropriate touching, repeatedly
  • vulgar talk, repeatedly
  • suggestive eye movement, repeatedly
  • vulgar dance, repeatedly
  • vulgar rap
  • rub dancing (stooping female posterior to male frontal pelvis), repeatedly
  • girl atop boy prone, facing each other in dance
  • ghosting of female anatomy through clothing, repeatedly
  • dressing to maximize female form and/or skin exposure, repeatedly
  • gaping mouth kissing
  • stripping to underwear, boy/girl
  • admission of homosexuality

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • teen bar with booze, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • six uses of God's name in vain, all without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." [Emphasis is mine] And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

    Join Christian Banner Exchange Network Today!

  • (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

    The ChildCare Action Project (CAP) is a nonprofit Christian ministry. We rely on public support. If you wish to contribute to the CAP, please send your donations to

    ChildCare Action Project
    Post Office Box 177
    Granbury, TX 76048-0177

    Your gifts are tax deductible in accordance with Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Tax Codes.

    Please feel free to write to us.

    You are welcome to
    Go back to the CAP Reports Page
    Top of the CAP Home Page
    CAP Table of Contents

    or leave me an email message or comment at

    Thank you for visiting us and may God bless you. Prayerfully, we will provide you with some of the most revealing commentary and investigative reporting you have ever read.

    In the name of Jesus:
    Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.

    ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture

    Copyright ChildCare Action Project (CAP)