Movie Review: Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing Trailer

Dirty Dancing Summary

In the summer of 1963, Frances “Baby” Houseman is vacationing with her parents Jake and Marjorie Houseman, and her older sister Lisa at Kellerman’s, an upscale Catskills resort in the Borscht Belt owned by Jake’s sarcastic best friend Max. Exploring one night, Baby secretly observes Max instructing the waiters, all Ivy League students, to romance the guests’ daughters, no matter how unattractive. Max also demeans the working class entertainment staff, including Johnny Castle, one of the dance instructors. Baby is attracted to Johnny, and dances briefly with him after his kind hearted cousin, Billy, introduces them at a secret “dirty dancing” party for resort staff. Max’s smart aleck grandson Neil flirts with Baby in the meantime.

Baby learns Johnny’s dance partner Penny is pregnant by Robbie, a waiter and womanizer who attends Yale School of Medicine and now has his eye on Lisa. When Robbie refuses to help Penny, Baby, without explaining why, borrows money from her father to pay for Penny’s abortion. At first, Penny declines as it would cause her and Johnny to miss a performance at a nearby resort, costing them the season’s salary, but Baby volunteers to stand in for Penny. During her dance sessions with Johnny, they develop a mutual attraction, and except for their failure to execute a climactic lift (Baby hesitated), Johnny and Baby’s performance is successful.

Back at Kellerman’s, Penny is gravely injured by the botched abortion, and Baby enlists her father’s help to stabilize Penny. Angered by Baby’s deception, and assuming Johnny got Penny pregnant, Dr. Houseman orders Baby to stay away from them. Baby sneaks off to apologize to Johnny for her dad’s treatment, but Johnny feels he deserves it due to his lower status; Baby reassures him of his worth, declaring her love. They begin secretly seeing each other, and her father now refuses to talk to her.Scene from the dancing finale.

Johnny rejects an indecent proposal by Vivian Pressman, an adulterous wife, who instead sleeps with Robbie, inadvertently foiling Lisa’s own plan to lose her virginity to him. When Vivian spots Baby leaving Johnny’s cabin, she feels spurned and attempts revenge on Johnny by claiming he stole her husband’s wallet. Max is ready to fire Johnny, but Baby backs up his alibi, revealing she was with Johnny at the time of the theft. The real thieves, Sydney and Sylvia Schumacher are caught, but Johnny is still fired for mixing with Baby. Before leaving, Johnny tries to talk to Dr. Houseman, but is only accused of trying to get at Baby. Baby later apologizes to her father for lying, but not for her romance with Johnny, and then accuses him of classism.

At the end-of-season talent show, Dr. Houseman gives Robbie money for medical school, but when Robbie admits that he got Penny pregnant, and then insults her and Baby, Dr. Houseman angrily grabs the money back. Johnny arrives and disrupts the final song by bringing Baby up on stage and declaring that she has made him a better person, and then they do the dance they practiced all summer, ending with a successful performance of the climactic lift. Dr. Houseman admits he was wrong about Johnny and reconciles with Baby, and all the staff and guests join Baby and Johnny dancing to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.

Dirty Dancing Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A timeless classic. This movie hits a lot of points that the USA still deals with, as well as culturally. While the resort in the Catskills this took place in closed, many Jewish families do spend their summers in the area, usually Fleischman’s, Loch Sheldrake and Monticello areas.

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