Martin Scorsese interviews his mother and father about their life in New York City and the family history back in Sicily. These are two people who have lived together for a long time and ... See full summary »
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
The purpose for the highly stylized opening, according to Martin Scorsese, was to find a way to represent how Alice saw her past. "In her mind, Monterey is fantasy, pure illusion. So I shot a flashback [to the late 1940s] as if it were a Hollywood movie being made on a soundstage. Unreal. Because that's where Alice is at." See more »
When Flo loudly introduces Alice to all the diners, a camera cut shows Flo waiting on a table while she is still speaking. See more »
Starring the incomparable Ellen Burstyn, giving an Oscar-winning performance (one of the finest of the 1970s), this comedy-drama is gritty and tough, but never off-putting. After her husband dies, 35-year-old Alice Hyatt from New Mexico and her smart-mouthed 11-year-old son Tommy take to the road, chasing her girlhood dream of finding songbird success in Monterey, CA. They get stuck in Phoenix, where she meets up with a frightening Harvey Keitel. Later, waitressing at Mel & Ruby's Cafe in Tucson, she meets a gentle farmer who's had his share of heartbreak. This is a perceptive, amusingly knockabout film regarding ordinary people trying to make it, episodes in their lives that enrich or derail them. Alice and her son have a wonderfully natural give-and-take, and the oddballs they meet on their odyssey (like Jodie Foster's shoplifting tomboy or the sweet, overweight cowboy who gives Alice a singing job) are deliciously silly, yet incredibly real. Burstyn is a joy cutting up with her neighbor in the backyard, having a Coke fight with her kid in a seedy motel, trading quips with Diane Ladd's salty Flo in the diner. Some critics complained that the happy ending felt tacked on, but you come to really respect Alice and her choices, and most of the film's little faults are camouflaged by director Martin Scorsese's bittersweet framing and Robert Getchell's vivid screenplay. Far superior to the TV sitcom, "Alice". **** from ****
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