by Anna Campbell
I was really saddened recently to see that Patrick Swayze had passed away at the tragically early age of 57.
For me, he will forever be the wonderful Johnny Castle from DIRTY DANCING, one of my favorite movies ever.
I can't tell you how many times I've watched this movie. I can't tell you how many times I've giggled at "I carried a watermelon" or cry in numerous bits of the film, most notably the ending. With its famous "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" line. Sigh! What a man!
This is a film that really touches a chord with a lot of the women I know. Perhaps because many of us identify with Baby/Frances. Perhaps because she fulfills so many fantasies for geeky girls.
This is a classic Ugly Duckling story. Frances is the plain, intellectual sister who hangs in there, takes risks and eventually wins the prince. Not only that, she gets to dance at the ball as the star of the show. And her prince who at first seemed completely beyond her reach recognizes her for the wonderful woman she is.
It's also a classic coming of age story. Baby starts out young and awkward and by the end, she's ready to fly. Literally! Who can forget that shot of Johnny lifting her high in the air at the end of the film as everything around her erupts into a dance of joy? Fantastic stuff! I always want to cheer at that moment.
I think the emotional arcs in this film are pitch perfect, which is perhaps another reason why it's such a favorite with audiences. Johnny goes through his own emotional journey - he gradually stops being the almost godlike creature of Baby's crush and turns into a real man with uncertainties and wounds and unexpected strengths. We realize by the end that she has given him as much as he's given her.
And isn't that a perfect love story?
So are you a DIRTY DANCING fan? If not, what's your comfort movie?