The Turning Point - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Turning Point Reviews

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½ November 20, 2017
You yield to The Turning Point reluctantly, knowing well that it is conning you -- with sentiment, with flamboyance, with sheer slickness. But you yield nonetheless.
½ October 25, 2017
The Turning Point is a gorgeous ballet with some amazing dancers which is constantly interrupted by a terrible movie. There are two stories taking place in this lousy movie, and the first one is about a former dancer who is regretting her decision to quit the ballet. You?d think, because Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft star in this story, it would be brilliant. However MacLaine is completely unsympathetic, and behaves in a frustrating way. Not to mention the movie keeps making us face the fact that Bancroft is getting old, which is just depressing. Then there?s the secondary story about the daughter of MacLaine?s character who is dealing with her first big romance, and trying to balance that with her big break in the ballet. Let it be known that not all actors can dance well, but more importantly not all dancers can act well. Mikhail Baryshnikov tries as the male love interest, but he?s pretty terrible. However, he?s not as bad as Leslie Browne, who is almost unwatchable. Yet when Baryshnikov and Browne break into a dance it is marvelous. I found The Turning Point to be thoroughly unpleasant because of the bad plot and acting, and frankly I?d rather just watch the full-length ballets that they were performing in the film instead of ever sitting through this movie again.
March 15, 2017
The Turning Point explores the ballet world and the choices one has to make in order to get famous in a fierce competition, boasting lavish choreography led by electrifying performances from Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine.
½ January 4, 2016
The Turning Point is a decent film. It is about a former dancer who is forced to confront her long-ago decision to give up the stage to have a family when her daughter joins a ballet company. Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft give good performances. The script is a little slow places. Herbert Ross did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the drama and romance.
½ August 22, 2015
First part wasn't very good, but it got better towards the end with more showing of great ballet performances. Wow how high that Russian can jump! The beginning seemed very shallow and uppity, but towards end more relatable themes started coming out. Movie was kinda messy/choppy in parts as far as direction or story. That cat fight scene was a bit over the top lord. This showed a lot of behind the scenes ballet work which was cool and had some good performances. Don't see much movies go this in depth about ballet, but 11 Oscar noms doesn't seem right. How could she not tell her husband about the affair? Also how did Emilia not smack that Russian for his treatment?
½ August 2, 2015
It's decent but whoa, 11 Oscar nominations? Shirley MacClaine and Anne Bancroft are great and some of the supporting actors did a good job too but it overall isn't captivating. The dance scenes are really well done and it has a great soundtrack but overall, it's just a decent movie on its own merits
½ July 11, 2015
Watched this again after many years. The ballet is first rate and there is a lot of it. Bancroft and MacLaine are compelling, except when they attempt a fight. Career vs. family theme isn't very deep, but a film that was nominated for 11 Oscars certainly struck a chord a the time.
Super Reviewer
½ March 21, 2015
An insufferable and melodramatic soap-opera that didn't deserve any of the eleven Oscar nominations it got, especially for a mediocre script that has no structure or clear focus and the acting nods for Browne and Baryshnikov, whose nominations are an insult to any real actor.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ August 30, 2014
"You never know what's coming next, at the turning point!" That Toto song may have come out way after this film, but it's best that I don't reference the Tyron Davis song, because even though it was released back when R&B was good, this film is so white that it's about ballet. Hey, hey, "the turning point", as in a ballerina turn; isn't that hilarious? This film has just got to be a little bit cheesy, because it's directed by the dude who went on to do "Footloose", although maybe that film was a little lacking because Herbert Ross lost a lot of steam after this drama about ballet took foot loosening to the extreme. Well, no I'm sounding no better than this film's title, because as if puns aren't unclever enough by nature, whether this title is trying to be punny or not, there's no making it all that witty, because it sounds so lazy, and it's not even original. The amount of films that have this title almost match the amount of Oscars this film was nominated for, but hey, this particular flick apparently stood out, so it must be more interesting than a drama about a foot. Well, even though it's not just about the literal turning point in a ballet dance, it still deals with ballet, so as adequately engaging as it is, its subject matter, alone, limits intrigue, partly because it's a little too familiar.

There are some relatively refreshing themes to be explored in this film, but on top of following a lot familiar themes regarding legacy in artistry, and certain romantic taboos, this is a very '70s-style melodrama, which hits most all of the predictable stylistic trappings and structural steadiness to storytelling, which is not justified by an especially intriguing story. Potential is there, but it is limited by a fairly minimalist film which largely focuses on chit-chat over real, immediately consequential conflicts whose incorporation is a little too gradual the good of a sense of momentum. I don't know if you can so much blame the narrative concept for the questionable dramatic structure, as much as you can blame Arthur Laurents' script, which gets to be repetitive in its minimalism, maybe even aimless under the wait of somber directorial storytelling that can get bland to the point of being boredom. There's not a whole lot of momentum to this film, and slowly, but surely, the blandness grows greater, while your investment grows weaker, secured by many a respectable dramatic highlights to punctuate something that thickens with the plot, and further challenges your investment. What thickens is a thinning of depth to this melodrama, kept consistent to one extent or another through superficial pieces of dialogue and explorations of potentially sophisticated subject matter which make it harder and harder to ignore the histrionics behind the meat of this narrative, whose improbability stands firm. It is also firmly challenged by some convincing inspiration to direction and acting, but there's something pretty contrived about a lot of the plot elements, whose formulaic, talky and slow telling further slow down dramatic momentum, until the final product falls as pretty decidedly underwhelming. As a matter of fact, the film may be forgettable, but while it occupies your time, it holds your attention just fine, thanks largely to good looks.

Robert Surtees' cinematography is about as prominent as any strong aspect of the film, with an intense lighting whose consistency throughout the film is problematic in its lack of dynamicity and overt glamorization, but hard to completely criticize, due to its haunting dreaminess, which is most lovely in the context of tasteful visuals. Naturally, the most tasteful imagery of the film is found within the ballet sequences, which stand to be more lavishly directed, as well as more recurrent, for that matter, but are well worth the wait, thanks to gorgeous classical musicality behind beautiful choreography and fluid, technically sharp dancing. As I said, the direction of the dance sequences stand to be more lavish, but Herbert Ross' passion for ballet is still palpable within his intimate directorial presentation, which doesn't need dance sequences to resonate, for although Ross' chilled storytelling all too often leaves one a little too cold, when the subtlety and grace of the material matches than of Ross' direction, it's hard to not be moved. The consequentiality of this melodrama is pretty questionable, but Ross is hearty no matter what, and his moments of matching ambition, and justifying steadiness, with inspiration implement a human depth to the approach of a story that already has enough taste in concept. Formulaic and melodramatic, yet still talky and lacking in conflict, this story is superficial, if not contrived in its depth, but no matter how messily handled, themes regarding the professional and personal conflicts of artists, both fresh-faced and aging, are intriguing, at least for a character study. Justice is done to the human factor of this character-driven melodrama is done most consistently by the cast, which doesn't have much material to work with, but plenty of talent, highlighted by Shirley Maclaine as a woman of sophistication, pride and flaw, and by Anne Bancroft as an aging beauty who fears for herself and the next generation. The performances would be much more memorable if the film was itself juicier, but no matter how much the acting grows stronger, the material grows more faint more quickly, and yet, the engagement value of the film is rarely truly lost, for although this film is thin and flimsy, it carries enough heart to endear and sometimes compel, but only sometimes.

Overall, the film is formulaic in its subject matter and in its telling of an already thin and talky story, made all the more bland by slow pacing and atmospheric cold spells, which gradually thin momentum with the gradual expansion in the superficialities and melodramatics which secure the final product as rather forgettably underwhelming, but through lovely cinematography, excellent ballet sequences, tasteful direction, intriguing subject matter, and solid performances, Herbert Ross' "The Turning Point" stands as a fair, if faulty study on the personal and professional lives of ballet dancers.

2.5/5 - Fair
June 5, 2014
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
March 9, 2014
11 nominations and one went to Baryshnikov, too. He dances in the movie. The movie won 0 Oscars. Baryshnikov dances in it.
½ March 6, 2014
Okay, I'm a Chick, I love Ballet Drama, & it is really done best in this Movie.Sublime performances.
July 29, 2013
11 Oscar Nominations........No wins. The performances in this film are breathtaking but the story is sub par. It really made me miss Anne Bancroft.
½ March 5, 2013
Wonderful performances from Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft and fantastic dancing by Lesley Browne and Mikhail Baryshnikov in this exploration of career versus family.
December 11, 2012
Being the movie about the choices we make and their consequences on a long term basis I would have focused more on those situations than in ballet itself, because making the decision of marrying and leaving all of your dreams behind can happen in many other circumstances. The film could have been great without all the shallow ballet scenes (some of them are important of course) which I think are gaps of time the director could have seized to make more riveting dialogue, like the verbal fight between Deedee and Emma. Great performance by Anne Bancroft, I would say the same for Shirley MacLaine but she plays the same mom every time.
½ November 10, 2012
Together with THE COLOR PURPLE, this movie suffered the same fate of being nominated for 11 awards and won 0. Bland but probably Oscars love the emotional complexity and the beautiful dialogue. Acting is top-notch from the two veteran actresses, Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine.
September 21, 2012
Not aging terribly well, with an overdramatized storyline, it remains an interesting case study of a modern woman's struggle.
August 25, 2012
Enjoyed the great acting and the ballet dance
August 14, 2012
Watching "The Turning Point," one of the most Oscar-nominated films of all time, I couldn't help but feel that I was missing something. The film has all the raw materials, but it simply never comes together. Even the two leads, Bancroft and MacLaine, appear to be phoning it in.
Super Reviewer
July 21, 2012
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.
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