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|Index||32 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Years after she quit the ballet to marry and raise a family, Deedee
(Shirley MacLaine) is reunited with her her old company and old friend/
rival Emma (Anne Bancroft). Deedee always wondered if settling down was
the right decision and now that her daughter is a ballerina, the old
doubts flood back.
If you love ballet, this is the movie for you and if you don't love it, maybe you will after watching it. The dance scenes are simply magnificent; Leslie Browne, who plays Deedee's daughter, is a lovely dancer (though not a strong actress) and she is paired with the stunning Mikhail Baryshnikov who is charisma personified. MacLaine and Bancroft are old pros and play well off each other. The regal Bancroft doesn't actually dance but looks like a dancer and always owns the screen. MacLaine's character is whiny and at first doesn't appreciate how good her life is. The two ladies are well-matched and fun to watch; all four lead actors received Oscar nods (and the movie was nominated 11 times in total).
This is a movie that will surely inspire many little ballerinas. The mix of classical ballet and sudsy soap opera is a good one. Recommended.
If you're expecting a masterpiece of storytelling and acting when watching, "The Turning Point", you'll be greatly disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the 2 lead performances are great, however the best supporting actor and best supporting actress are completely undeserved, they were okay, not great. The ballet performances are really good and breathtaking to watch. However, the movie, really feels like a made for T.V flick instead of a full-scale cinematic experience. They're were many other films that deserved a Best Picture nomination in 1977. The film has pretty much faded in the last 30 years, no one really talks about it anymore. If you're just looking for a film that showcases some truly great ballet, you won't be disappointed, if you're looking for something more, you won't find it here.
First things first; this movie takes place within the American Ballet
Theater. The name "American Ballet" was chosen by George Balanchine- a
white Russian émigré to the United States- back in the 1930s when it
was indeed probably the only major ballet company within the United
States. However, their use of this term now is certainly misleading. I
believe an alternative, and much more descriptive name, is "New York
City Ballet"; that may in fact be the name they are legally required to
use now due expiration of the original copyright though I would not
swear to it. They are certainly very good at what they do; but, there
are quite a few ballet companies within the United States nowadays and
they are just as American as the group in New York City. And, probably
just as good. Their is an irony here in that the movie starts, for some
unfathomable reason, in Oklahoma City- which is, I guess, meant to show
a place as far away from the "Big City" ballet as one can get. Perhaps
in 1977 it was, but nowadays Oklahoma City itself has a very good
ballet company. The only major reason why I do not consider the OKC
ballet company as good as the one in New York City is due to the
shortage of funds they have encountered recently. The OKC ballet school
is pretty good- from what I have heard. Anyway, the New York City
Ballet is a top notch outfit but it is certainly NOT the only major
ballet company in the United States-despite what this movie implies.
Okay, now that I have cleared this up I will now comment on this movie.
It is a "must see" movie for people who like ballet and even other major dance forms. There are a few problems- one is that Tom Skerritt plays the husband of a former ballerina of the company; himself a former "danseur" with the company. Yet, as good an actor as Mr. Skerritt is, I find his performance in this movie far from convincing in this manner. Their son is shown as an up and coming dancer; also with the company yet he disappears midway into the movie. What happened to him? I know the daughter is primary point of interest, but what happened to her brother??
Other than these weaknesses it is a very good movie- though it is somewhat surprising that it received 11 Academy Award nominations. Anne Bancroft was fantastic. In real life she never danced professionally nor took lessons yet she did a great job portraying an over-the-hill prima ballerina (possibly based on Margot Fonteyn). Shirley McClain- who did dance a lot - ironically is never seen dancing or even prepared for dancing.
This is a "chick flick"- no doubt about it, but if you are male and interested in the behind the scenes of a ballet company you will find this interesting also. Speaking of males- Mihail Baryshnikov comes close to stealing the show from the female leads. This movie, along with "The Nutcracker" that he performed later in 1977, was the "turning point" in his career. Well worth seeing by anybody of either gender for this alone!!
The dialogue in this movie is mostly artificial, sometimes embarrassing and
always hard to listen to. Only Martha Scott, as the money-hungry owner of
the ballet, seems to rise above the awkward words all the actors are forced
to say. The dance scenes are great, if you like that kind of thing, but the
rest of us made a face.
I like Bancroft and MacLaine and Tom Skerritt (MacLaine and Skerritt would later be friendly rivals in 'Steel Magnolias') and they are always great, even in this, even if the movie is not worthy of their talents.
I can see why this did not win any Oscars and no offense to anyone doing the nominating, but it had to be a REALLY lean year if Mikhail Baryshnikov and Leslie Browne got Supporting nominations. They are fine, especially Browne in a funny drunk scene, but come on! There was never much of a chance either would beat out the eventual winners Jason Robards and Vanessa Redgrave, though if the truth be known I would have voted for Tuesday Weld in 'Looking for Mr. Goodbar' and Peter Firth in 'Equus.'
The Turning Point is a beautiful film about the ballet world. Any ballet
fan would adore this movie as it is more like a modernized version The Red
Shoes. The dancing is great, and I love seeing 1970s New
The drama feels real, and the performances of the two leads are great and believable.
Guys would probably think this a dull "chick flick" but trust me--it's great!
Having recently seen this 1977 Herbert Ross film, one can't even
imagine what was the appeal when this movie was released. Basically,
it's a story about the world of ballet and about what goes on
backstage. The screen play by Arthur Laurents presents us with all the
petty little feuds, roles coveted and not gotten. Ultimately, it's a
story about that a sin in the dancing and acting milieux: growing old!
The film deals with the long standing friendship of DeeDee and Emma. DeeDee has left the ballet company when she became pregnant. Emma goes to shine as the prima ballerina who gets all the honor and accolades. DeeDee is fulfilled with a family of her own, whereas Emma is lonely and desperate. The 'turning point' comes at the end when DeeDee and Emma square their differences in one of the most hilarious moments of the movie.
Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft have great moments in the film. It's always a great fun to watch both of these actresses by themselves, so it's even better watching them together. The rest of the cast includes Tom Skerritt, Martha Scott, Leslie Browne, Anthony Zerbe, Mikhail Baryshnikov and great moments of ballet magic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I somewhat enjoyed this movie at the time, mainly because of its ballet
theme, and it certainly boasts beautiful dance sequences with real life
ballerinas, Leslie Browne and Mikhail Baryshnikov. However, the
characters are pretty stereotypical and it's all basically middle aged
naval gazing as to what life might have been and the road not taken.
The story revolves around two women who have chosen disparate life paths, both revolving around ballet. Deedee left the dance company years ago to marry a fellow dancer & raise a family, but now runs a ballet school in Oklahoma. Emma remained with the company and became a prima ballerina, but at the expense of any family life, and her dance career is now waning. Deedee's daughter, Emilia, is also a ballerina. When Emma takes her on as sort of a protégé and tries to advance her position within the dance company, Deedee feels resentful.
The cast here is certainly competent. Shirley MacLaine (Deedee) and Anne Bancroft (Emma) are both convincing as the two very different women. Tom Skerritt plays Deedee's husband, Wayne, though I prefer his interaction with Shirley MacLaine in their later movie, Steel Magnolias. The young ballerinas, Browne (Emilia) and Baryshnikov (Yuri)...well, their main function is to dance. Their romance proved of no interest to me whatsoever. I found Emilia's drunken scene silly, and noted another's comment that in a real life dance company, she'd be severely reprimanded for this.
This movie has some pretty stereotypical jealousies, looking longingly at the life you don't have and wondering if you made the wrong choices way back when. Years earlier, Deedee & Emma were competing for a lead role in their dance company when Deedee became pregnant & married, leaving Emma with the role and a successful dance career. Now they are both looking back, Deedee jealous of Emma's star career and Emma envying Deedee's family (husband & three children) while she has only her dogs for company. All these feelings are brought to the forefront as they watch the young Emilia at the beginning of her dance career and also romantically involved with Yuri. These doubts and regrets are not uncommon in middle age, but the old career versus marriage & family theme just isn't very original.
Also, I found the cat fight near the end between the two women, Emma & Deedee, absurd and merely succumbing to the ridiculous popularity of cat fighting among cinema audiences. This did not add class to this movie (which, frankly, might have been classier) or any stars to my rating.
On the whole, it's a forgettable film. The entire glimpse into the world of ballet elicited some interest and the dancing is magnificent. Otherwise, famous cast or not, it's not really a movie worth bothering with unless you're madly keen on ballet. As another reviewer commented, it isn't very involving and there's really no one to cheer for.
Dee Dee Rodgers (Shirley MacLaine) is a teacher/mother/wife with a passion for ballet who actually gave up being a prima ballerina to be a mother/wife. Emma Jacklin (Anne Bancroft) was Dee Dee's best friend, and a successful ballerina in a company in New York. Emilia (Leslie Browne) is Dee Dee's daughter, with as much passion for ballet as her mother, but at the same time a want to be loved. After being accepted to the company, Emilia, Dee Dee, and Dee Dee's son Ethan travel to New York so that Ethan and Emilia can be in ballet. Dee Dee looks back at her choice to be a mother and wife, and begins to regret that she had children and didn't become a star ballerina like Emma. Emma looks at her choice to be a star ballerina, and wishes that she was more like Dee Dee as being a mother and wife. The key word here, JEALOUSY. Big time. Emma basically tries to take over Dee Dee's place as Emilia's mother, while Dee Dee finds an old flame, Rosie, and "stays the night" over at his place. Meanwhile, Emilia is falling in love with her co-star ballerina, the wonderful Yuri (Mikhail B.something or other). These happenings separate, and eventually bring together (after a drop-dead hilarious fight between MacLaine and Bancroft) everybody involved. A really touching, really sweet, and full of beautiful dancing movie, which will have you looking back at your life, and realizing that you don't have enough time on earth for regret and jealousy.
A big deal is made of this movie seemingly because Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLain have a ridiculous catfight near the end. The only reason not to cut this thing up for guitar picks is that it showcases some of the leading ballet talent of the 1970s. The backstage story is not only silly but completely unrealistic, and the whole Bancroft/MacLain thing is sheer drivel. Really, who cares?
Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft play one-time ballerina rivals in
this pointless sudser from 1977. MacLaine has a loving husband and
comfy home, but gave up her career; Bancroft has the career, but no one
to share it with. Both re-meet when MacLaine's daughter becomes a
ballerina and struggle with feelings of what could have been if each
had pursued the life of the other. Congratulations if you can muster up
the energy to care about any of this, because I sure as hell couldn't.
The film features an Academy Award nominated performance by Mikhail Baryshnikov, whose nomination was for his dancing, not his acting, and another wonderful low-key performance from the shamelessly underrated Tom Skerritt as MacLaine's husband. The high point of the film is when MacLaine and Bancroft let loose on one another in a good old fashioned hair-pulling, face-scratching cat fight. The rest is a dull bore.
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