Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Best Actress 1977: Shirley Maclaine in The Turning Point
Shirley Maclaine received her fourth Oscar nomination for playing Dedee, in The Turning Point. Dedee was once an extremely talented dancer in a refined dancing company, both she and her best friend Emma (Anne Bancroft). When both Emma and Dedee were auditioning for a major ballet role, Dedee got pregnant and she decided to have the baby and raise a family, while Emma got the part and became a huge star. 38 years later, they meet again. Dedee's daughter jooins the same dance company they both were in, and starts to climb her way to the top, prompting Dedee to think about her daughter's future, and the fact that she never became a star.
When The Turning Point begins, it is a an entertaining, interesting story. It really brings up our choices when we are young and how they affect us when we're older. The dancing is beautiful to watch, and I personally was excited to see how both Emma and Dedee's relationship would develop. Shirley Maclaine is wonderful here, showing us that she regrets how her life ended up and that she is afraid that her daughter will end up hurt or disappointed. Shirley has a captivating presence in these scenes, that are just beautiful. But when her daughter moves to New York, the air seems to come out of the movie and this damages both the film and everyone's performance. The movie is trying to focus on Leslie Brown exclusively, and sort of drops Shirley's character development. There are never really any good scenes afterwards, and when she has an affair, it seems so random and unbelievable. She picks up more steam in the end, I like her scene at the ballet with her old director, asking him whether if she had not gotten pregnant, had she had been picked for the role instead of Emma. Her arguement in the restaurant is also pretty good, but her fight outside is too screechy, and ridiculous, I personally felt that Anne Bancroft outshined her here, though I should rewatch the scene just to be sure. But she does have a lovely moment at the end, when she looks at her daughter, surrounded by admirers, getting the fame that she herself did not get, but Shirley shows us that Dedee is radiant with happiness about her daughter's success. But this is ruined due to the incredibly dumb ending scene with her and Anne Bancroft, which is glib and unbelievable.
Shirley Maclaine tries her best to get a strong performance out of this movie, and she does in some ways, but the awfulness of the screenplay drag her down until the badness of her performance overshadows what's good about it. She gets