In the movie, The Piano, there seem to be several turning points. The main character (Helen Hunt) is married off to New Zealand. She falls in love with a laborer. Seeming turning points.
Why are these not real turning points?
We will only be dealing with created, conscious, turning points, not when life changes or we change, but it's not conscious. These are moments when we are unusually strongly connected to Life, and thus can cause our lives to turn instead of continuing down the same unproductive path.
The real turning point, in the movie, happens on the way back to the States: Helen Hunt's character decides to end her life. She, unbeknownst to others, ties her ankle to her beloved piano. Half way to the ship (I think) she orders the men to throw the piano overboard. They comply and the heavy piano pulls Helen Hunt's character to the depth of the ocean.
There, to her surprise, 1 the will to live proves stronger than the brooding, moody, character she had created for herself, the moody desire to die that she had probably postponed a million times.
Her desire to live reconnected her to Life. She kicks of her socks and shoes and reemerges.
In America she learns to speak (she was a mute till that point), and becomes a real person.
A real turning point. (1hr52 till the end of the movie, available for streaming on Netflix... about 4 minutes)
Consider that being afraid of death, hurt, disease is not a commitment to Life.
You have never chosen to live, so you can middle, survive, and be dead in the world of the living.
To live is to be big. To grow. To defy gravity, to expand, to meet life head-on.
You are shrinking to the mere mention of real life... aren't you?
You have some vague notions of longing, and thirsting, and hunger, but no commitment.
So what made Helen Hunter's turning point a turning point?
Although she is a mute, she talks in her head, and we, the audience hear it.
In the incident and right after that, right after she is surprised that she wants to live, she commits to living, as opposed to surviving.
Did life get easier because she committed? No. That is not the nature of life: actually with each commitment it gets harder, maybe that's why so few people make any commitment, ever.
But life becomes life, and life isn't supposed to be easy. Life is supposed to make you, force you to grow.
This is what we call a real turning point.
PS: if you have seen Harold and Maud: what is the turning point there? Did you notice? Any other movie where you can recall there is a real and strong turning point?