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
This has to be one of Martin Scorses's most enjoyable films. The film follows Alice (Ellen Burstyn) on a journey back to happier times after a tragedy forces her to make important decisions about her life. Needing a job to raise cash for this journey takes her and her son (the remarkably cheeky Alfred Lutter) on a journey of self discovery. Having a small talent for singing she eventually secures a job as a singer in a bar but flees town after meeting psychopathic Harvey Keitel. Eventually working as a waitress in Mel's Diner she becomes involved with the strangely uncharismatic Kris Kristofferson and realises she has finally met someone who really cares for her. The performances make this a remarkable film, Burstyn & Lutter are a great double act as mother and son, Harvey Keitel frighteningly plausible as a mentally unbalanced suitor and Jodie Foster sexually ambiguous as Lutters playmate. Diane Ladd excels as hard-bitten fellow waitress Flo and Jane Curtin and Billy Green Bush make an impact with barely half a dozen lines between them. Add to this a terrific musical score and inspiring cinematography and you have a timeless classic that is just crying out for a DVD release.
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