R | 1h 35min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Review - Matt Mungle
**In select theaters March 11th 2016**
Synopsis: After a lifetime of being overlooked and ignored, a woman of a certain age finds her world turned upside down by a handsome new co-worker and a self-help seminar that inspires her to take a chance on love in Hello, My Name is Doris, a witty and compassionate late-life coming-of-age-story.
Review: Sally Field delivers the first award winning performance of the year in the new Romantic Comedy/Drama, HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS. Watching this film you will be reminded why we all love her so. Here we see an actress with such a wide range of emotional depth and who, at 69 years of age, can still rock the night away.
Doris Miller (Field) is a quirky office worker who has been spending most of the last few decades caring for her aged mother. When Doris finally gets her freedom much of life has past her by. She sits each day in a cubicle adapting to the ever changing work space around her. But when the hunky new co-worker John (Max Greenfield) stirs up some fiery emotions it is time to cast care to the wind and take a chance on love.
The film is a decent balance of comedy, drama, and romance. And none of these overshadows the other. Much of this synergy is due to Fields ability to capture the different emotions of Doris' character. She has to be funny and whimsical one minute and dramatically overwhelmed the next. All while never losing the overall dynamic of Doris. The clothes and hair help to solidify this too. She has a look and style that is her own and stands out in a crowd. It is this zaniness that bridges the generation gap between her and her younger cohorts.
Kudos to Greenfield as well. His character John befriends this lovable older woman who, to him, is just a lot of fun to be around. He has no idea the feelings she has for him. To hold his own against the subtle acting perfection of Sally Field is not an easy task. He has to feel as comfortable in each scene as she is. If he ever once shows any intimidation or insecurity then the whole story crumbles.
Much of the humor comes from watching Doris maneuver through the world of social dating. She enlists the help of her best friend's granddaughter to help stalk John on Facebook. There she begins to take notes on his likes and dislikes in order to aid in casual conversation. One element to appreciate about the humor is never does it make fun of Doris. As an audience you laugh a lot with her but never at her. Too often comedies will take a character like this and write jokes at their expense. Focusing on one flaw or a social awkwardness. Here we have a person that anyone would be pleased to know.
The writing also is grounded in reality. The drama comes from seeing a woman who is struggling with capturing a bit of the past. She is going for something that we all know is just out of reach. Are we rooting for her? Absolutely. But never do we feel like we are witnessing a fantasy. Her struggles are real and many of them we can relate to and understand. Unreturned love and infatuation is hard at any age. It is an emotion that most have battled in the wee hours of the night. So to root for this character is to root for us all.
Seeing the modern culture and hipster generation through the eyes of a woman of Doris' age is enlightening and such grand comedic fodder. We have conformed to the evolution of speech and mindsets to the point that we fail to see the absurdity in a lot of it. So when we take a step back and look at it from a distance much of it becomes so trivial. In the end the things we think are so groundbreaking, inventive, and revolutionary mean nothing in comparison to life and living. Every generation thinks itself enlightened. That is what makes it so easy to laugh at.
Hello, My Name Is Doris is rated R for language. It is an adult comedy but never is it sophomoric or crude. It is intelligent writing and comes across as such. If you love Sally Field it is a must see. If you don't admire her going in you will certainly adore her on the other side. I give it 4 out of 5 knitting clubs. A smart and funny film that showcases a beloved actress and a memorable character.