A warm comedy of effulgent grubbiness, the most pugnacious treatise on "woman’s picture" tropes since Aldrich’s Autumn Leaves, above all an ode to the heroine who will have her song heard.
It does nothing to denigrate the rich portrayals of masculine communities and male loners to which Scorsese has largely dedicated himself to wonder what would have happened if he had returned to female protagonists like Alice—not as supporting characters... but as the center of a film’s narrative, emotional, and thematic universe. If Alice proves anything, it’s that the qualities that mark his best work... can flourish in stories about women as well those about men.
I hadn’t seen the beautifully titled Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974) since I attended a London press screening in the mid-’70s, and was delighted to discover how wonderfully it holds up after recently watching it a second time on a Warner DVD. Of course it’s really Ellen Burstyn’s show more than Martin Scorsese’s, but we can get a pretty good idea of how much it belongs to each of them from the DVD extras.