“Hello, My Name is Doris” Film Review

Having been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her excellent portrayal in Lincoln, it was time for Sally Field to have another terrific performance.  Hello, My Name is Doris is some of Field’s best work to date, taking on a quirky character who struggles to cope with life and letting go.  The film is directed by Michael Showalter and written by Laura Terruso & Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer).

Doris (Field) is sixty-something woman who just lost her mother and has to deal with her brother Todd (Stephen Root) and his wife Cynthia (Wendi McLendon-Covey) hassling her to sell their mother’s house and get help for her hoarding.  Doris likes to hold on to things because they have sentimental value, or she will find something beautiful in the street trash and take it with her.

One day, life turns upside down for Doris when the company she works for hires a new attractive and young art director, John (Max Greenfield).  John bumps into Doris in the elevator and treats her with kindness, something most people in the office don’t even do because they find Doris to be too shy.  He is quite the charming man, making Doris fall for him instantly.

As the days go on, Doris has fantasy of John kissing her or having sex with her in the break room, but she doesn’t know how to talk to him.  However, she attends a self-help book seminar with her best friend, Roz (Tyne Daly), and is inspired to try and pursue John.  She seeks help from Roz’s grand-daughter, by setting up a fake Facebook account in order to find out his interests.

One of John’s interests is a electronica band, so Doris decides to buy the CD.  While listening to it at work, John catches the album cover and is impressed by Doris’s taste in music.  So Doris calls up Roz’s grand-daughter, and they figure out that the band is playing real soon, in a city close to NYC.  Doris decides to dress up in neon and go to the concert, where she of course hangs out with John and the two of them have fun.

After the concert, John starts to seem happier, but he isn’t talking to Doris as much as she would like.  She soon finds out that John has a girlfriend and stalks the two one evening into a store.  Of course John recognizes her standing there outside, but after makes up an excuse, John’s girlfriend invites Doris to come here her sing at a bar around the corner.  She actually really likes Doris and invites her to her knitting club.  Doris agrees to come, but after the whole meeting, Doris goes home, does something she regrets and screws up a lot of things in the process.

The story is an interesting look at possible mental illness, mixed with wanting to be loved and grasping onto to someone who shows the most attention anyone has ever showed. It’s a funny, but dramatic film that let’s Doris be who she wants to be without too many characters trying to change her.  Sally Field portrays Doris so unbelievable well that I expect at lest a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.  It’s funny, emotional and in the end you really love Doris for who she is, even if her methods are little different.

The rest of the cast does well in supporting Field, and Max Greenfield is beautiful to look at.  Director Michael Showalter, along with writer Laura Terruso have made a nice independent film that really showcases what Field can do.  They try to keep it real, while adding in some quirkiness along the way.

Rated R.

Conclusion:

Hello, My Name is Doris is some of Sally Field’s best work in years.  It would be delightful to see this performance being honored at the Oscars, but it will probably be forgotten once the Oscar season rolls arounds.

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