In making Gere an attorney, Chelsom shows just how American men often suffer from the inability to display their emotions, despite our cultural obsession with just the opposite.  Like so many men, John Clark doesn’t know what he feels, much less how to express it.  He’s a good husband and father and he does his job, day in and day out.  But life has lost his luster.  So it’s only natural that he finds himself drawn to the mysterious Paulina.  Likewise, as John’s seemingly cuckolded wife, Beverly, is vulnerable to the charms of her hired detective.  Yet, surprisingly, neither give in – even just a bit.

And this is where “Shall We Dance?” veers away from the Hollywood stereotype, which would typically have one, if not both, spouses committing adultery – and telling us that this is okay, under the circumstances.  Instead, this film chooses to define how passion – real passion, especially through the arts – can open up an entirely new world for us.  And, thanks to John’s unintentional initiative, this old married couple discovers that old passion burns brightest as well as longest.

Even more importantly, “Shall We Dance?” shows us that passion is not – despite society’s insistence – about sex at all.  It’s about discovering who we are.  And that’s something that Jesus wants us all to do, because it’s the only way we’ll ever learn what true love really means.


  • Drugs/Alcohol Content:  Character secretly sips from flask, implying addiction, but later gives it up; wine with dinner.
  • Language/Profanity:  Approximately a dozen obscenities, including one f-word (used in anger after cruel, demeaning provocation); three or four profanities.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  Several references to sex, including “good/lousy in bed,” “in the sack” and a woman who says she is “built for speed;” various discussions about homosexuality including slang terms (“the tropics”), men who deny homosexual urges, and two allusions that one character really is homosexual, despite his denial (lover throws him an affectionate glance, perceived by another character, and the two later dance together in an all-male club).
  • Violence: Character uses the phrase “put a gun to my head.”