During 1988, the film, “Dirty Dancing”, caught the hearts of many as it brought focus to the common issues in the society during those years. The main characters, Baby and Johnny had a huge difference between them but they both had something in common, and that is the courage to fight for what they love.
In the film Dirty Dancing, privilege is portrayed through the barrier shown between the characters. During the movie, the society could be classified into two groups, the elites and the people from troubled backgrounds. Frances Houseman, aka Baby, finds herself torn between her Father’s saying or what her heart is beating for, and that is to be with Johnny. Frances is privileged due to her father’s respectable image and high profession while Johnny on the other hand desperately needs his job as it is the only thing that helps with his expenses. He had experienced all sorts of rejection because of his ranking in the society. This movie shows that there is indeed prejudice when it comes to people coming from troubled backgrounds. When you have a reputation to keep, you often become selfish and wary of people you spend your time with. This movie did an amazing job in portraying that conflict.
It is a common conflict in most romantic movies where two lovers are being separated due to their differences in their financial status. In that case, after spending more time with Johnny, Baby found herself slowly falling in love with him. As much as she wanted to profess her relationship with Johnny to her family, she didn’t want to put Johnny’s job at risk and their difference also stopped her from coming forward.
When she met Johnny, she realized that all those years, she was not living the life she wanted as she always followed through her father’s orders. She knew she wanted to help people as her profession in the future but Baby was sure that she didn’t want to assist people by being a Lawyer or a Doctor. This realization by Baby Houseman made me question myself, “Am I really living my life the way I want to?”.
One of the significant scenes in the movie was when Penny Johnson, Johnny’s long-time dance partner, was caught in danger as she just had an abortion carried out by a fake Doctor. This is when Baby stepped-in and asked her father, Dr. Houseman, for help. While calming Penny down, Dr. Houseman had asked who was responsible for Penny and Johnny was brave enough to admit that it was his when in fact it was Robbie’s. From then on, Baby’s father forbids her to associate with Johnny and his Friends. I believe that the cause of this action was not only because of prejudice since they are from troubled backgrounds, but also because of Johnny’s confession. He feared that his daughter will end up in the same fate as Penny.
Despite having her father prevent her from seeing Johnny and his friends, hanging out with them made Baby realise that all those years, she was not living the life she wanted. Ever since, Baby had always known there’s something missing in her heart and she realised that all this time, that empty space in her heart was the true meaning of happiness.
Due to the restrictions of her father, Baby chose to lie to him. She was scared that confessing to her father might put an end on her relationship with Johnny. She felt the happiest whenever she’s around Johnny and she feared that confessing to her father might risk that connection with him. Besides, after telling Dr. Houseman that he was responsible for Penny, Baby’s father would never trust him thinking that Johnny is only going after Baby because of money.
“Nobody puts Baby in the corner”, the phrase that surprised me as it signified that Johnny finally got the courage to put Baby into the spotlight and dance with her in front of many privileged people. My soul moved with their graceful dance number and I felt really happy watching this scene. The staff in the hotel also joined the dance number and everyone were just having fun. This act broke the barrier which existed in the society. For a few minutes there, everyone is equal. The movie was brilliant for showing that it doesn’t matter how rich or privileged you are, in the end, we can all have fun together.
At the end of the film, Doctor Houseman finally accepted Johnny and praised him for what he did. He also acknowledged that he found out Johnny wasn’t the one responsible for Penny. This scene was amazing as it showed that it’s never too late to make amends. It also portrayed that Doctor Houseman was just being protective with her daughter, Baby, but seeing how happy she was on stage, he accepted Johnny without any prejudice.