Dirty Dancing (1987)

Filed under: — Helen on October 25th, 2007 09:10:51 pm

small-dirty-dancing-poster.jpgDirty Dancing reached its twentieth anniversary this year, and it’s still as popular as ever. It’s shown on tv all the time and a new longer version has just been released on DVD with plenty of special features. It’s the movie that makes people with two left feet wish they could dance. I believe the reason this film has remained so popular over such a long space of time is because it really is the ultimate chick flick. It combines great romance with great music and there are strong performances from the cast.

The story is set in the 60’s at an expensive holiday camp where families go to spend their summers. Baby (Jennifer Grey) befriends the dance staff at the complex, who are looked down upon by the other staff. This is because they play by their own rules: sleeping with the rich married guests; and dancing their way into the early hours in a building that’s cut off from guests, because the activities that go on within it are not very family oriented. Baby doesn’t fit in with this group at first, but when Penny (Cynthia Rhodes)- one of the main dancers, books an illegal abortion on the same night she should be performing an important dance gig, Baby offers to fill in for her. Penny’s dance partner Johnny teachers Baby to dance, and sure enough, her moves improve and her infatuation with her new instructor soon turns into a full blown romance.

dirty-dancing-film-kissing-scene.jpgIn terms of the central romance, you probably wouldn’t put these two characters together in a million years. They’re from completely different backgrounds and have contrasting personalities. Johnny’s a rugged guy with a few issues relating to women and the world in general, and Baby’s positive outlook on the world comes into conflict with this at first as they don’t look at things in the same way. However, she soon makes him see things in a brighter light and realise that not everything in the world is against him.

Although a large part of this film focuses on the romantic relationship between Baby and Johnny, it also shows some insight into family relationships and the dysfunctions that can occur within them. The relationship between Baby and her sister is quite strained from the start, as they are complete opposites and can’t understand eachother. However, the most interesting relationship we are shown is that of Baby and her father. She has always been the apple of his eye, but he hasn’t fully allowed her to live her own life. He has high expectations and ambitions for her, but has never actually checked whether or not she shares them. When he sees her asserting her independence and dating a person he doesn’t approve of, he begins to question his daughter and doubt his own success as a father.

final-dancing-scene-in-dirty-dancing.jpg The film has an amazing catchy soundtrack. It literally makes you want to get up and dance and it leaves tunes in your head for days afterwards. Most the songs are from the swinging sixties and highlights include ‘big girls don’t cry’ by Four Seasons and the unforgettable closing track ‘time of your life’, which is nowadays overused by dj’s in cheesy bars worldwide, but still makes a great concluding track to the movie.

What’s great about Dirty Dancing is that it’s not too over-romanticised or corny. Jennifer Grey as the leading lady possesses a strong likeability factor, because although she’s not unattractive, she is quite plain. Had a strong Hollywood beauty been cast in the role instead, they would have been much harder to relate to and appealed to less female viewers. It’s a pleasant film where the nice girl becomes a woman and does end up getting the guy of her dreams. The music and the appealing storyline leaves you feeling happy and moved and wishing you could jump back to the 60’s and experience some of the same.

Dirctor: Emile Ardolino

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey

rating: 6

author picture Helen (94 posts)
I'm a 32 year old from Leeds in England. I watch a lot of films and like writing about them.


  • Whatever happened to Jennifer Grey?

    Comment by suzero — Sat December 1, 2007 @ 19:20
  • Woah, I just googled her and if you view recent photos of her, she is unrecognizable. She hasn’t had BAD plastic surgery, but she has had enough to make her into a completely different person (from the outside).

    What a shame, she looked great before. Very unique. Now she is mainstream. There’s a whole discussion about it on her page on IMDB where one person comments that “she used to look like somebody and now she doesn’t look like anybody”. How true.

    Dammit, what is with all these gorgeous women cutting themselves up to all look alike?

    Comment by suzero — Sat December 1, 2007 @ 19:36
  • yeah, it’s pretty depressing. you’d think jackie stallone and janice dickinson would be a warning to all. they are incapable of changing their facial expressions… it’s scary.

    Comment by Helen — Sat December 1, 2007 @ 22:36

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