Projections - Movie Reviews

The Turning Point

Herbert Ross has directed a beautiful film dealing with the lives and dreams of two women.  It is laced with ballet and music and will enthrall serious film viewers.  Some, however, will find the pace too slow.

Shirley MacLaine as Deedee and Anne Bancroft as Emma are friends who competed years ago for a place in a ballet company.  Emma became the ballerina and Deedee a teacher of dance and a mother.

There is envy on the part of each woman, Emma for the children and husband which Deedee has and, Deedee for the spotlight and glory her friend has achieved.  Though the film produces two of the best women roles in recent memory the conflict and affection between the two could occur between men just as easily.

Ross moves his two main characters together again after years of seperate lives, through Deedee's daughter (Leslie Browne) a young ballerina.  He then surrounds the film with the beauty of music and dance by the ballet company.  The sets are stages in theaters, but the theme is simple.  In each life there is success and some failure; no one is free from longing for "what might have been".  Each woman in this case is envious of the other - Deedee for the success she gave up for marriage and Emma for the children Deedee has to fill her life.  The women, both in their forties, come to realize their dreams are over, however, each accepts her own achievement as sufficient for a full life.

Turning Point is believeable and real.  Ross brings out the deep emotions of his characters without fanfare.  At one point Deedee's daughter causes anger and a very physical fight between her mother and Emma by allowing Emma to replace Deedee in her professional life.  In a moving scene the reconciliation of the mother and daughter is accomplished through expression and motion, with no spoken dialogue.  Director Ross expresses the beauty, warmth and grace of life without contrivance.  Turning Point is a masterpiece and may be the best film of the year.

The Turning Point

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