Just released from prison, Steve steals a car and races to Pasadena, where he plans to meet his first crush. However, Steve crashes the car, and as he lies bleeding, he gives a dance-class ticket to fellow traveler, Frank. Thus begins the rather maudlin Marilyn Hotchkiss.
Frank has his own problems (his wife committed suicide). When he attends the class, the odd setting offers him closure in the person of dance partner Meredith (a one-legged Marisa Tomei). But Meredith’s possessive step-brother, Randall inexplicably picks a fight with Frank. While the present-day story is overly sentimental, flashbacks to 1962, when Steve first attended the charm school, are the film’s strength. That, and Mary Steenburgen as Marienne Hotchkiss, the daughter of the dance doyenne, who’s delightful and looks lovely in a variety of ballroom dresses.