"Turning Point" revolves around the friendship between two ballet dancers: Deede (played by Shirley MacLaine) gave up what might have been a promising dance career to raise a family and start up a ballet school in Oklahoma City, Emma (Anne Bancroft) plowed on to fame under the hot lights.

For 20 years, ever since they were competing for the same part, Deede has resented Emma, wondered about the path not taken, questioned her "turning point." And her doubts are rekindled when daughter Emilia (American Ballet Theater ballerina Leslie Browne) begins to achieve the glory she never attempted.

Not only is it a dramatic tour de force among recent "women's films," with one scene of demon-venting between Bancroft and MacLaine destined for film archives, but ballet footage with Mikhail Baryshnikov takes the breath away. Producer Herb Ross has managed to weave the 40 minutes of ballet into Arthur Laurent's screenplay so that each supports the other. Neither in trudes, and ballet agnostics should find the film more than tolerable.

Besides taking the viewer backstage for the infighting and backbiting of professional ballet, "Turning Point" explores such human emotions as jealousy between friends in a positive and reaffirms the choice of whatever road is taken.