Despite admitting that she was scared of him in her never-ending quest to please him, thirty-five year old housewife and mother Alice Hyatt is devastated when her husband Donald is killed in an on the job traffic accident. With few job skills except that as a singer, Alice, along with her precocious eleven year old son Tommy, decides to move from their current home in Socorro, New Mexico to her home town of Monterrey, California, the only place she has ever felt happy. She plans on getting singing gigs along the way to earn money to get back to Monterrey by the end of the summer and the start of Tommy's school year. Alice's quest for a job at each stop leaves Tommy often to fend for himself, which may make Tommy even more precocious. His behavior is fostered by Alice, as their relationship is often more as trouble-making friends than mother and son. Alice's plans often do not end up as she envisions, especially as she is forced to take a waitressing job at Mel and Ruby's Diner in ... Written by
When I was younger, my sister and I would spend countless hours each day watching television. One of the programs we found ourselves glued to was Alice. For those who may not remember the show too clearly, one phrase may help jog your memory... "Kiss my grits!" If that didn't help, you probably have never seen the show (or as some folks may say... "it was before my time.")
Anyway... last night I saw a film titled Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Upon starting the movie, all I knew about it was that it was directed by the great Martin Scorsese, and that it was about a widowed wife and her son who drive across the country. To my great surprise, the character Alice is the same character from the TV sitcom. I didn't put two and two together until halfway through the film when it showed the diner with Mel and the other two waitresses. It was fun to see the other characters like Flo, Vera and Mel (the movie's Mel was the same actor as the TV show's Mel). Many of the elements were similar between television and movie; the only noticeable difference was the tone. On television, the show was a sitcom comedy made to get a good laugh every few minutes.
The film, however, was a bit more serious because of various real life situations (relationships, child upbringing, death).
This coincidence made things much more interesting as the film continued. Don't get me wrong, the movie was pretty damn good already; I just seemed to enjoy it a bit more when I started putting the pieces together. Scorsese, once again, showed his incredible directing skills. He was able to bring the viewer into the extreme pain and desperation of the main character, while at the same time, show the positive things in Alice's life through his use of color and cinematography.
Overall, the film was enjoyable because it was quite heart warming (in contrast to the more famous gangster type films by Scorsese). It made me wish that either the television show were still on syndication, or that I get to chance to see this film sometime again.
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