Toxic Masculinity and Empathetic Comedy: Martin Scorsese’s ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’

Vague Visages


While revisiting Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore for the first time in over 10 years, I was struck by two realizations. First, it suddenly dawned on me that throughout his career, Martin Scorsese has most consistently been a director of character-oriented drama. While this might seem a rather obvious observation to some, it is easy to see Scorsese first as a cinema historian who makes cinema about itself, or as a versatile director of genre pictures. While these latter two attributes do inform his work, I’ve noticed with a recent slew of retrospective viewings that the auteur concerns himself always with the study of character above else. The second realization I had was that while Scorsese’s filmography has repeatedly returned to the subject of violent masculinity, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore is the first and last film in which he has approached the subject primarily from a woman’s perspective. Indeed…

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