Hello My Name Is Doris

Directed By: Michael Showalter

Starring: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Stephen Root, Elizabeth Reaser, Natasha Lyonne, and Tyne Daly

Unless you're Meryl Streep, good roles don't often come for leading ladies of a certain age.  That's how Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Angela Bassett end up on FX in American Horror Story.  That's how Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin end up on Netflix in Grace & Frankie.  That's how Sally Field ends up on ABC in Brothers & Sisters.  Yes, Hollywood has a history of discrimination that is not just of a race-based nature that produced the now recurring #OscarsSoWhite backlash.  Older women aren't given the same opportunities.  That's why having Sally Field back on the big screen in a leading role is such a delightful prospect.  While she's had memorable supporting roles in Lincoln and The Amazing Spider-Man in recent years, we haven't seen her in a leading role in ages. It's been two decades since the two-time Oscar winner Field has commanded the big screen as the lead.  Two decades.  It's a damn shame, and her latest film Hello My Name Is Doris reminds us exactly why.

Sixty-something Doris Miller (Field) has lived with her mother for years.  Unmarried and without children, she’s never really lived her own life.  It's especially unclear what's in store for the hoarder after her mother passes.  Her brother Todd and sister-in-law Cynthia (Stephen Root & Wendi McLendon-Covey) want her to clean up their mother's house in Staten Island and sell it.  Her friend Roz (Tyne Daly) wants her to stick to the traditions they've known and loved for years.  Doris can't contemplate either scenario at the moment.  All she can do is think about the new art director who's just moved from Los Angeles to her office in New York.  To Doris, new guy John Fremont (Max Greenfield) is attractive, charming, and the subject of her enchanting daydreams.  Despite their apparent age gap, Doris is determined to find out whether there's any chance of a romantic spark between the two.  Meanwhile, her brother Todd recommends she see a therapist to help her let go of her hoarder tendencies and all the junk she's accumulated over the years.

Endlessly funny, infectiously heartwarming, and utterly engrossing, Hello My Name Is Doris is the movie you won't expect to love.  Director Michael Showalter serves up loads of comedy in the process.  It certainly helps that his talented ensemble shares strong comedic chemistry.  At the end of the day, however, Hello My Name Is Doris is a film entirely built around a single performance, that of leading lady Sally Field.  For her part as our titular character, the cinema legend does exactly what she does best on the big screen by enamoring moviegoers with her endless charms.  Her performance as this introverted hoarder is endearing.  It's witty.  It's hilarious.  It's the kind of performance that reminds us of what this heavyweight actress is capable when given the right opportunity.  It's downright fascinating to watch her daydream about breaking out of her shell and then subsequently doing it.  All in all, Hello My Name Is Doris is a letter to casting directors everywhere that says get Sally Field back on the big screen while she's still able to do it.

Aside from Field's performance, Hello My Name Is Doris is a fairly straightforward film. The narrative plays exactly as any moviegoer would expect with some of the formulaic elements of a romantic comedy.  Showalter nimbly directs the film and keeps us engaged, however, by tapping into our emotions.  He reels us in with loads of comedy and keeps us in our seats with a somewhat deeper look at the charming world of Doris.  His supporting cast helps to add to the charm of this little world.  They play off one another quite well and create colorful characters that endear us, especially Max Greenfield as art director John Fremont, the clueless object of Doris's affection.

Hello My Name Is Doris
is a much-needed starring vehicle for veteran actress Sally Field to shine, and she does exactly that.  This enchanting romantic comedy gets a 0.03% rating.  Have some wine coolers with this one.