Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore ★★★½

Try to withstand New Mexico's most aggravating kid! Hoo boy, he needed a good whoopin'. The destroyer of all nerves.

Besides that (and it is a detrimental that), I'd recommend this film for those who want to seek out a more atypical Scorsese. He's created a fine slice-of-life take on Americana and the difficult struggle to make ends meet.

The struggle begins when Alice's (Ellen Burstyn) husband dies in a highway accident. From then on—leaving her hometown of Monterey, California to the American Southwest...she takes a number of steps in order to be more self-sufficient.

Scorsese captures the geography of her surroundings with freewheeling abandon (motels, restaurants, taverns and diners) with Burstyn giving a terrific performance that vacillates between boisterous laughter and sympathetic tears. She's the kind of person who you'd simply root for to get her singing career back on track. She also meets a couple of potential suitors along the way (her introduction to Harvey Keitel is accompanied by Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" to wonderful effect but ultimately shunned when things get sadistic) with the chimerical Kris Kristofferson making a nice appearance in its later stages.

The conventions of a road movie are blended into a warm character study that managed to endear me. Bittersweet and lovely in equal measure. Just, ya'know, fuck that irritating kid.

Nick Vass liked this review