Ice Castles combines a touching love story with the excitement and intense pressure of Olympic competition skating.
Lynn-Holly Johnson portrays a farm girl from upstate Iowa who has the raw talent to be a great skater. Under the training and encouragement of local ice rink operator Colleen Dewhurst, she wins a regional competition, where she is spotted by Olympic coach Jennifer Warren.
Warren propels Johnson to instant stardom as a Cinderella figure who comes out of nowhere to win the hearts of the American people. All is progressing smoothly until Johnson has a freak accident, and is partially blinded. Robby Benson, who plays Johnson’s boyfriend, and Tom Skerritt, her father, bring the teenager out of her shell, leading up to the inspiring ending.
Dewhurst, who appears all too infrequently in pix, excels in her role as the hard-bitten ex-skater trying not to live out her failed dreams through Johnson. Skerritt gives another outstanding perf as the overly-protective father who also realizes his failings. Johnson shows the potential of being an excellent actress, in addition to a top skater. She is consistently believable, even in the more maudlin moments.
1979: Nomination: Best Song (‘Through the Eyes of Love’)