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Single Parenting

Addressing challenges of being a single parent household.



Movie: Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

(Warner Bros; 1974) color, 112 minutes; PG-rating; genre-romantic comedy


Healing Themes:

  • Single parenting

  • Spousal loss

  • Female friendships

  • People in chaos

  • Dysfunctional relationships

  • Abuse/ verbal and physical

  • Leaving past behind you

  • Trying to follow your dreams

  • Getting on with your life

Director: Martin Scorsese


Screenplay: Robert Getchell


Cast: Ellen Burstyn (Alice Hyatt); Alfred Lutter (Tommy Hyatt); Kris Kristofferson (David); Billy Green Bush (Donald Hyatt); Diane Ladd (Florence); Valerie Curtain (Vera); Vic Tayback (Mel); Jodie Foster (Audrey); Harvey Keitel (Ben).


Synopsis: Recently widowed housewife Alice Hyatt (Ellen Burstyn) decides to move back to her childhood hometown in Monterey, California with her preteen son Tommy, played by Alfred Lutter. Alice hopes to restart a singing career she abandoned when she married Donald (Billy Green Bush). On the way, she is forced to take on several jobs to have money for her journey. She encounters hot tempered Ben (Harvey Keitel) in Phoenix, Arizona. Moving on to Tucson, she obtains work as a waitress and meets David (Kris Kristofferson) a local rancher who frequents the diner. Emotionally fragile Alice finds it hard to trust and is fearful of another dysfunctional relationship. Eventually she learns that she can be a singer anywhere.


Viewing Suggestion: Imagine yourself as one of these characters as you view this film. Have you or someone you know been in an abusive or dysfunctional relationship? Can you identify with losing a spouse?


Exercise: If you have been in unhealthy relationships in the past, what can you do different to change dysfunctional patterns? List ways your life could be more positive if you had the character’s qualities or capacities.


Availability: This movie is available for viewing by streaming from your favorite device through Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. You can also buy this movie on sites such as Movies Unlimited.


Trivia: This movie was a commercial success, grossing $ 21 million on a $ 1.8 million budget. Burstyn won best actress, Ladd and Getchell received nominations for best supporting actress and best original screenplay. This film inspired the sitcom Alice which ran on CBS from 1976 through 1985.


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