WARNING:SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
Synopsis: In this quirky comedy from Michael Showalter, Doris (Sally Field), a sixty-something woman starts to fall in love with her much younger co-worker John (Max Greenfield).
Review: Doris has been taking care of her mother since she was in her twenties. And now her mother has died, and she has no purpose in life. Or at least that’s what she thinks. However, when she meets her new co-worker John, she finds a purpose – to make him fall in love with her.
Hello, My Name is Doris does a great job at painting Doris as a weird loner and almost a stalker-like character. However, you can’t help but feel for her as she tries to find love for the first time in decades. When her brother Todd (Stephen Root) finally unleashes some harsh words towards Doris, you really see Sally Field shine as she brings such pain and anguish to Doris and how her world collapsed around her.
The supporting characters really shine in the film, which include Doris’ friend Roz (Tyne Daly), who’s almost as crazy as Doris, as her husband passed away over 15 years ago, but can’t come to terms with moving on. We also see Roz’s granddaughter Vivian, who helps Doris try to hook up with John. They create her a fake Facebook profile to help find out all of John’s interests, as well as snoop on his current girlfriend Brooklyn (Beth Behrs).
The one thing that Hello, My Name is Doris struggles with is the pacing and tone of the film. I think that was Showalter’s idea, to merge in moments of daydreams, gut wrenching humor and heart stopping sorrow, but it doesn’t flow as nicely as it should. That is really the only thing that hampered a nearly perfect film, and really is only a minor deterrent.
While Doris is in her sixties, the movie does a great job showing that she still has plenty of life to live. It is something that she struggles with throughout the film: the age difference between her and her co-workers, how many years she spent taking care of her mom, and all the life she lost due to it. She starts to come to terms with expanding her horizons and trying new things once she befriends John’s group of friends.
In this ageist world of Hollywood that we live in, it’s hard to believe that it’s been well over a decade that Field has starred in a film, and not been reduced to a supporting character. She shines in this indie film, and should be nominated for an Oscar. She still commands the screen like she did in Norma Rae and more recently in the television drama Brothers & Sisters, and still has the beaming smile like she did in Punchline.
Independent films need to be more commonplace today. There are many great action films and drama films, but these indies like Hello, My Name is Doris, helps portray everyday life in a very unique way. Sally Field is remarkable and hopefully this catapults her back into the spotlight she deserves.
Final Grade: 9.0/10