Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore


Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Critics Consensus

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore finds Martin Scorsese wielding a somewhat gentler palette than usual, with generally absorbing results.



Total Count: 30


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,807
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Movie Info

Alice Hyatt is a widowed mother with a growing son. Left penniless after her husband's death, Alice and her son head for Monterrey, where Alice hopes to launch a singing career. After a horrific liaison with her brutish boyfriend, Alice is afforded better treatment by a kindly rancher.


Ellen Burstyn
as Alice Hyatt
Alfred Lutter
as Tommy Hyatt
Billy Green Bush
as Donald Hyatt
Harvey Keitel
as Ben Everhart
Larry Cohen
as Diner at Mel and Ruby's
Henry Max Kendrick
as Shop Assistant
Mardik Martin
as Customer in Club During Audition
Martin Scorsese
as Diner at Mel and Ruby's
Lelia Goldoni
as Neighbor Bea
Lane Bradbury
as Ben's Wife
Ola Moore
as Old Woman
Murray Moston
as Bar Owner Jacobs
Dean Casper
as Chicken
Harry Northrup
as Bartender
Mia Bendixsen
as Young Alice
Laura Dern
as Girl Eating Ice Cream Cone (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (4)

Audience Reviews for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

  • Apr 21, 2019
    An interesting voyage of self-discovery as a widow learns to live without the wings of protection she has always relied on, even if they were abusive wings, and make her own life. Well, her life and that of her difficult 12 year old. Martin Scorcese is wit enough to keep the tale from lapsing into Hallmark cheery or maudlin. And the soundtrack here is as important as the script insofar as telling the story goes. The actors are all strong. Good stuff.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 05, 2015
    A movie about a widow and her bratty son moving west to make a better life for themselves. The movie is OK, but I find it hard to fathom that the mom - Alice won an Academy award, and a fellow waitress, Flo was also nominated for Best Supporting actress.
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • Aug 04, 2012
    **** out of **** Alice Hyatt (Ellen Burstyn) loses her husband to a tragic car wreck. It was not a happy marriage, with Burstyn having virtually no one else to turn to but her preteen son Tommy (Alfred Lutter), who the man himself hated the most (they often fought over how loud the music he was listening to was). Alice doesn't stay in town long. She would rather leave the life she once unhappily lived behind. When she married her former husband, Alice had to let go of a life-long dream - to become a singer - and now she finally has the opportunity to pursue it by taking a road trip with Tommy to California. Cornered financially, they have to settle for Phoenix, Arizona for the time being. The lounge where Alice first begins to sing at is located here. The film is sort of like a road trip odyssey, and sort of more. Alice meets a young man in Phoenix named Ben (Harvey Keitel) although their romantic affair does not last too long, for the man of 27 is married but did not think to tell Alice beforehand. This is just her first conquest though, and once it's ended, Alice does not take it to heart. Next, she finds a job as a waitress at a diner in Tucson. There she meets the divorced rancher and horse-rider David (Kris Kristofferson), who is undeniably more mature and decent than the last man in just about every department. While Ben was young and ignorant, David might actually be able to provide love for Alice and fatherly comfort for Tommy; the kind that's been absent for a while now (in regards to the both of them). It may seem as if "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" is more about the two romantic relationships that come and go throughout the narrative - which is structurally nothing different than your standard road movie - but the way I see it, it's more about the boy and his mother. They live together, they have fun together, they suffer together; they do more than just share an apartment until they can find a proper house. We get the indication that Alice was never distant from her son and never wants to be; although he can be difficult at times. His insistence on being a potty-mouth brat can get in the way of his relationships with both his mother and David, her new lover. But underneath it all, I think he loves her; but just possesses a certain hyperactive personality. Martin Scorsese made this movie between two greats: the existential gangster crime drama "Mean Streets" and - my personal favorite of all his films - the uncompromising study of loneliness and urban isolation "Taxi Driver". It's tough being the middle child in this case. This film is often overlooked and even unjustly criticized, but for what? Maybe some people truly do have problems with it, or maybe it's just difficult to accept that Scorsese - as good a filmmaker as he has proved himself to be - could have a winning streak that went at least three in a row (depending on what you thought of "New York, New York" and his documentary "The Last Waltz"). You rarely hear this one mentioned when you hear the director's name, and in that way it is underrated. But the question is whether it deserves such a fate. I don't think it does. "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anywhere" is, in my opinion, a jubilation of the human heart and the sort of cinematic drama that one can so effortlessly summon if they understand even a small part of it. Perhaps another reason why this one is so seldom spoken of is because it does not resemble the most famous of Scorsese's pictures - no taxi drivers, raging bulls, or young gangsters staring into the sky frequently from their car searching for helicopters here - but stylistically, there's still a lot of Scorsese to be seen in it. There's the fancy camerawork, the luminous lighting, the creative casting, the superb soundtrack, and the distinctive eye for culture. In this case, the characters don't take to the city or to the ring; Scorsese instead tackles the West and shows that he knows it as well as he knows any other place he's taken us thus far. But perhaps the most important thing of all that the film has that most of Scorsese's films also have is the story concerning a flawed, ambivalent character; or several. As uplifting as the film is at times - largely in part of the flawless chemistry that these stars seem to have with on another - there is always realism around the corner. Alice is impacted by her previous marriage and cannot let it go as easily as she may want to. It puts her in a sort of social and emotional handicap. Meanwhile, the father's death early on in the film seems to have traumatized Tommy in a way too; but he finds solace in a girl his own age played by Jodie Foster, in a very early performance from the actress where she looks almost certainly like a boy. These are such rich, powerful characters that we are given a wide range of emotions to absorb, and it's not easy taking them all in during a single viewing. You watch wonderful yet tragic movies like this and you look at Marty's later filmography and you realize that he, like a lot of people in the business, doesn't live here anymore. But he did one day; and oh, I'm so glad he did.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • May 08, 2011
    Directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Robert Getchell. It stars Ellen Burstyn as a widow who travels with her preteen son across the American Southwest in search of a better life, along with Alfred Lutter as her son and Kris Kristofferson as a man they meet along the way. This is Martin Scorsese's fourth film.Common people in a life scene.Good.
    Andre T Super Reviewer

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