A Triumph For Movie Critics
The film was a modest box office hit, ending its theatrical run as the 19th highest earner of the year. Critics were mixed on the movie as a whole. Many of them criticized the film’s cliché plot devices and melodramatic storytelling. However, The Turning Point also had its defenders. Variety’s Arthur D. Murphy called the film “one of the best films of this era….[a] rare example of synergy in which every key element is excellent and the ensemble is an absolute triumph.” Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote that the movie was “an authentic breakthrough-throwback: a vividly enacted depiction of the conflicts between strong, capable, conscious, willful women.”
Nearly five decades later, The Turning Point is but a curious bump in pop culture history. While it received a record amount of Oscar nominations, fairly good reviews, and made money for Hollywood (without relying on big special effects and CGI spaceships), it is barely discussed by moviegoers outside serious cinephile circles.
Popular ballet movies today include Black Swan (2010) and The Red Shoes (1948), two psychological dramas that have rightfully earned their place in the Hall of Fame of Dance Films. However, people should not sleep on Herbert Ross’s masterful motion picture. I would argue that The Turning Point deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the two previously mentioned movies. It holds up particularly well, with its themes feeling as fresh and relevant today as they did in 1977.