Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015)

hellomynameisdoris_2016_poster
Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015)
  • Time: 95 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
  • Director: Michael Showalter
  • Cast: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs, Tyne Daly

Storyline:

A self-help seminar inspires a sixty-something woman to romantically pursue her younger co-worker.

2 reviews

  • Hello, My name is Doris is a very funny movie. It is acted with precision that come off as spontaneity. It follows a formula only to twist it all out of shape and change your anticipation into pleasant surprise. It’s a good movie that allows you to feel familiar while giving you something we haven’t seen in years.
    Screenwriters Laura Terruso and Michael Showalter have written a perfectly clear story and script that leads you into the obvious mechanics of a romantic/ comedy and then set about making it something new. It’s difficult to get the formula for a rom/com right and to not only get it right but then deconstruct makes for surprises you wouldn’t expect.
    Showalter is also the director and, as such, he fills his screen with little things that are more than appropriate and big things that are laugh out loud funny while very revealing of character.
    This movie doesn’t belong to Sally Field but it looks like she created it and someone just happened to be there to film it. She plays Doris with a mass of little gestures and facial expressions that keep the character alive and believable for every minute of the film. Tyne Daly’s character, Roz, is Doris’s best friend. Roz is a creature of habit, schedule, and routine which doesn’t fit with where Doris is going. Roz just buckles down and waits for her friend to need her. Stephen Root plays Doris’s brother, Todd, who wasn’t there to help with their mother illness and now wants to get Doris out of the house so they can sell it. Root plays him as a far more understanding person than many around Doris like Todd’s wife. And this starts the group of actors known for TV work.
    Max Greenfield plays John Fremont who is a little taken with Doris. His performance doesn’t move very far from his current TV character which made it difficult to separate his TV character from what was on screen. If you don’t know his current TV character there will be no problem. He more than fulfills what his character in the movie needs to. I didn’t recognize Wendi McLendon-Covey, as Cynthia. A different hair style and distinct character left me to enjoy her supporting character and I didn’t realize who she was until I came home. Beth Bahrs I recognized but not once did I hear or see her TV character on the screen. She plays her character, Brooklyn, with a sure hand. Rebecca Wisocky’s character, Anne, is the boss at work and since I don’t watch her TV show I found her to be perfect.
    Also in the cast, but almost as a cameo, is Peter Gallagher as the motivational speaker,
    Wily Williams, who sets Doris off on her journey. His character is every inch the cliché spouting speaker with books to sell and not much care about what happens to the people who believe him, like Doris.
    I give Hello My Name Is Doris 5 table lamps out of 5. Usually when I read that an actor should be up for an Oscar and the movie is just opening, I take it as exaggeration to try to get behinds in the seats. In this case it’s true, Field deserves an Oscar nomination for this film. She won’t get it because it’s too far away and the movie is a comedy but she deserves it. Go see this movie. You’ll have fun.

  • The title is an introduction and, indeed, Doris (Sally Field) is beginning her life anew after being on pause for so many decades. Though the filmmakers never quite get a handle on the story they want to tell, Field’s highly endearing and touching performance makes Hello, My Name is Doris a very satisfying watch.

    Sixtysomething Doris has spent most of her life caring for her mother in their Hoarders-worthy Staten Island home. When her mother dies, Doris isn’t quite sure what to do, though she is certain that she doesn’t want to get rid of all the clutter and sell the home as her brother (Stephen Root) and his abrasive wife (Wendi McLendon-Covey) wish her to do. Nevertheless, she begrudgingly agrees to see a therapist (Elizabeth Reaser), who specialises in treating hoarders.

    In the meantime, her professional life as a longtime accounting drone is enlivened by an encounter in an elevator with John Fremont (Max Greenfield), who turns out to be her company’s new art director. His friendly and open manner stokes her romantic fantasies – many of the film’s best comic moments derive from Field’s priceless expressions as she’s one second away from snapping back into reality – and Doris, emboldened by the words of a motivational speaker (Peter Gallagher), determines to win John’s attention.

    With the help of her best friend’s 13-year-old granddaughter (Isabella Acres), Doris formulates her strategy which involves stalking John on Facebook under the cover of a fake identity, studying up on his interests, and arranging a chance encounter during a gig by his favourite electronica band. The young man appears charmed by her kookiness and enthusiasm and spends more and more time with her, misleading Doris into believing the attraction is mutual. Her mental instability, already a cause for concern for her friends and relatives, is bound to be tested for all signs point to a not so happy ending, at least not romantically.

    As written by Laura Terruso and director Michael Showalter, Doris is a character that could easily be a caricature. At times, the filmmakers invite viewers to embrace her exploits; at others, they seem to want audiences to pity her. It doesn’t help the cause to quirk her up even more with the sort of frumpy chic wardrobe that renders her a cross between Amélie’s title character and Grey Gardens’ Edith Beale. Then there are the extraneous narrative threads – the hoarding, Doris sabotaging John’s relationship with his more age-appropriate girlfriend (Beth Behrs), etc. – which are distractions that push the story into sitcom territory.

    The fast is there’s enough richness in its core story that there’s no need to dress it up. And when one has an actress of Field’s caliber, all one has to do is turn on the camera and get out of her way. Field is such an unalloyed delight as Doris, brimming with such exuberance and navigating from the ridiculous to the sublime with an almost impossible deftness of touch.

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