Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE

Ellen Burstyn












ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (1974). Director: Martin Scorsese.

After the death of her husband in an accident, Alice Hyatt (Ellen Burstyn of The Exorcist) packs up and drives off to a new life as a singer with her young son Tommy (Alfred Lutter). Trying to get a job as a singer -- although she's not very good -- she winds up as a waitress in a diner in Arizona and along the way gets involved with two very different men (Harvey Keitel and Kris Kristofferson). This once very popular movie hasn't worn well with time. Although Alice was hardly the first Hollywood movie to deal with a widow moving on and starting a new life for herself, stumbling all the while, it came out in a decade reappraising women's roles and therefore seemed more novel than it actually was. Burstyn is good, if a bit overwrought at times, and won the best actress Oscar for the role. Lutter as her son is terrific and the rest of the supporting cast, including a young Jodie Foster as a friend of Tommy's, is excellent. A product of its time if little else.

Verdict: Pleasant and well-acted. **1/2.

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