The Turning Point (1977)

The Turning Point (1977)

Taglines: The generations change. But the choices remain the same.

The story of two women whose lives are dedicated to ballet. Deedee left her promising dance career to become a wife and mother and now runs a ballet school in Oklahoma. Emma stayed with a company and became a star though her time has nearly passed. Both want what the other has and reflect on missed chances as they are brought together again through Deedee’s daughter, who joins the company.

The Turning Point is a 1977 drama film centered on the world of ballet in New York City, written by Arthur Laurents and directed by Herbert Ross. The film stars Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft, along with Leslie Browne, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Tom Skerritt. The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The script is a fictionalized version of the real-life Brown family and the friendship between ballerinas Isabel Mirrow Brown and Nora Kaye.

The Turning Point (1977)

About the Story

DeeDee (Shirley MacLaine) left the ballet company after becoming pregnant by Wayne (Tom Skerritt), another dancer in the company. They marry and later move to Oklahoma City to run a dance studio. Emma (Anne Bancroft) stays with the company and eventually becomes a prima ballerina and well-known figure in the ballet community.

While the company is on tour and performs a show in Oklahoma City, DeeDee and the family go to see the show, and then have an after-party for the company at her home. The reunion stirs up old memories and things begin to unravel.

At the party, DeeDee’s aspiring dancer/daughter, Emilia (Leslie Browne), who is also Emma’s goddaughter, is invited to take class with the company the following day. After taking class with the company, Emilia is asked to join the company but she does not immediately accept the offer as she wants to think it over before making her final decision. DeeDee and Wayne decide that DeeDee should go to New York with Emilia, who is rather shy and doesn’t make friends as easily as her younger sister. Meanwhile, their son, Ethan gets a scholarship to the company’s summer program while Wayne and their other daughter stay in Oklahoma City.

Once in New York, they rent several rooms in Carnegie Hall with Madame Dakharova, a ballet coach. Emilia soon starts a relationship with a Russian playboy in the company, Yuri (Mikhail Baryshnikov). DeeDee runs into the former conductor of the company and has an affair with him, which causes conflict between Emilia and DeeDee. Meanwhile, Emma argues with Arnold, the choreographer, about giving her a better role in his new ballet, which he refuses and leads Emma to suggest Emilia for the role instead.

It’s also revealed Emma has been seeing a married man, Carter. During rehearsal, Emilia has an argument with Arnold and storms out, going to a bar and getting intoxicated. She then shows up for the performance that night still intoxicated and Emma takes care of her, which angers DeeDee. Emilia suffers when she sees Yuri getting involved with another dancer, Carolyn.

The Turning Point Movie Poster (1977)

The Turning Point (1977)

Directed by: Herbert Ross
Starring: Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Tom Skerritt, Leslie Browne, Martha Scott, Antoinette Sibley, Alexandra Danilova, Lisa Lucas
Screenplay by: Arthur Laurents
Production Design by: Albert Brenner
Cinematography by: Robert Surtees
Film Editing by: William Reynolds
Costume Design by: Albert Wolsky
Set Decoration by: Marvin March
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 14, 1977