The Turning Point (1977)
Movie InfoOne of a cycle of '70s post-Women's Liberation "women's pictures," Herbert Ross's drama uses the ballet world to examine the conflict between family and career. Former dance colleagues Deedee (Shirley MacLaine) and Emma (Anne Bancroft) are reunited when Emma's New York ballet company stops in Oklahoma City for a performance. Having dropped her career for marriage and motherhood, Deedee envies prima ballerina Emma's limelight life; aging Emma, realizing that her days as a star are numbered, wishes that she had the fulfillment of a family like Deedee's. Tensions simmer when Deedee's talented teenage daughter, Emilia (Leslie Browne), moves to New York to join Emma's company. As Emma maternally bonds with Emilia, and Emilia falls in love with womanizing dancer Yuri (Mikhail Baryshnikov), Deedee feels that she's losing her place even as a mother. After Emilia's triumphant debut, Deedee's and Emma's resentments boil over into an all-out catfight that ends when they realize they can unite in happiness for Emilia's future. Splitting the desires to nest and to work between two characters, Ross and writer Arthur Laurents reveal the difficulty faced by women in a world of expanding options. As in Michael Powell's and Emeric Pressburger's seminal ballet film The Red Shoes (1948), dancing and a personal life don't mix, even as the films display ballet's seductive power here in the gracefully integrated numbers by dance stars Browne and Baryshnikov. Despite reservations about its melodramatic aspects, The Turning Point earned box-office success and eleven Oscar nominations (but no wins). Even if its wife/work struggle seems a bit old-fashioned, Deedee's and Emma's final bond suggests that the next generation may not have the same regrets. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for The Turning Point
You yield to The Turning Point relucantly, knowing well that it is conning you -- with sentiment, with flamboyance, with sheer slickness.
For a film ostensibly dedicated to physical grace, Ross's images are unforgivably clumsy.
There's some beautiful dancing and a wealth of detail about the world of classical ballet.
The Turning Point is entertaining, not for discovering new material, but for treating old material with style and romantic feeling that, in this day and age, seem remarkably unafraid.
A well-made soap opera with a story that right out of a 1930s backstage musical.
Though made in 1977, this strained effort tries to combine a 1940s woman's picture with backstage melodrama set in the modern ballet world.
MacLaine and Bancroft are electric to watch.
A wonderful film about the friendship between two women and about the marvels of ballet.
Its sophistications are superficial, to say the least, but it wowed the Academy in 1977.
Audience Reviews for The Turning Point
A former ballet dancer's daughter moves to New York to star in a big-time ballet company, and the move resurfaces old grudges.
I suppose that the highlights of this film are the ballet sequences, which are well-choreographed and visually fun to watch. But these sequences do nothing to advance the story or the film's characters; they divert the film's focus. Deedee, played by Shirley MacLaine, is the center of the film's main conflict, and Deedee must reconcile her choice - to settle down and have a family rather than compete against Emma, played by Anne Bancroft, for professional success. Despite scenes in which Deedee looks on enviously as her daughter achieves the success she never did, this conflict just sits in the background, and there aren't many moments in which we see Deedee working to resolve the conflict. The affair subplot is lame and poorly presented, and the final fight between Emma and Deedee resolves like a bad Lifetime movie - illogical, maudlin, and wracked with a bond between women that nobody could understand or believe.
Overall, if you like ballet, skip the poor excuse for a plot between the dance scenes.
A boring, talky, and slow movie about dancers. There are some good actors in the movie, but overall it's boring.More
This is not a great movie, but just to watch Baryshnikov propel his body to incredible heights is totally, totally worth the 2 hours. That, and the catfight between Shirley Maclaine and Anne Bancroft. Ah, how I love them.More
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Turning Point", Dee Dee(Shirley MacLaine) is a former ballet dancer, now running a dance school with her husband, Wayne(Tom Skerritt), in Oklahoma City. Twenty years previously, she gave up her career, when she became pregnant with her daughter, Emilia(Leslie Browne), who is now an accomplished dancer in her own right. A visit from the American Ballet Company including her former rival, Emma(Anne Bancroft), brings old emotions to the surface. (They were competing for the leading role in "Anna Karenina" when Dee Dee got pregnant. Twenty years later, they are envious of each other's lives.) When Emilia wins a chance to perform in New York, her mother and brother accompany her.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Turning Point" is an intellingent and thoughtful movie about the choices we make in life and the sacrifices and compromises that we all have to live with.(I am not sure but ballet would seem to be one of the only careers where pregnancy would perfmanently end a career.) MacLaine and Bancroft both give wonderful performances but the rest of the cast does not fare as well.(To be fair, most of them seem to be professional dancers.) I liked the movie the most when it focused on Emma and Dee Dee but was less interested about the young dancers(sorry, but I'm not a ballet fan). But I have newfound respect for the dancers, having seen the all the hard work they do.[/font]
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