Hello, My Name Is Doris Review: Sally Field Breaks Ground Where the Script Doesn’t

Photo Credit:http://www.movieinsider.com/m12618/hello-my-name-is-doris

There are a lot of indie flicks that take place in Brooklyn that show young souls finding themselves whether through love, work, or another path. But none of them star Sally Field. Hello, My Name is Doris is a vehicle for everyone’s token favorite movie aunt/mother/grandmother to be sure, but why shouldn’t it be? Talented women in Hollywood come in all ages, yet so few of them get starring roles involving sexual discovery.

At the beginning of the film, Doris (Field) is dealing with the death of her mother, an office job where she’s not respected, and siblings trying to force her to deal with her hoarding problem. In walks John (Max Greenfield), a young new art director at her office that she fancies. Instead of writing herself off, a cheesy motivation speaker inspires her to be the best she can be. So begins Doris’ quest for unlikely love with a younger man. She attends EDM concerts in Brooklyn warehouses, makes a Facebook, and informs all the 20 somethings about recipes they’ll likely later share on Pinterest. It’s a standard fish out of water story that hilariously highlights the turnaround of old and new trends.

But it all be for naught without Field. She’s the heart and soul of the movie, not just a caricature of an old cat lady, but a human being with experience and history. The film only spends a few months with Doris, but Field sells us her whole life story with an amusing, fumbling elegance. She’s funny when she needs to be but nails the dramatic bits as well. This is a veteran actor at the height of her powers, better than she’s been in years. The script occasionally fails Doris, using her age for laughs one moment and pandering to her generation the next, but Field is always game to right the ship.

For those looking for something new at the cinema, the novelty of a woman at her age in this kind of role may not last. It’s an aesthetically simple movie that doesn’t break much creative ground. But for its refreshingly cast narrative, as well as the sheer talent powerhouse leading it, Hello, My Name is Doris accomplishes what it sets out to and then some. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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