Over her career, Sally Field has proven that she act silly as well as she can act serious. A lot of that has to do with her facial expressions. When she get the right role, you can literally tell what her character is thinking just by watching her reactions. In Hello, My Name is Doris, Field is given many opportunities to use every expression possible.
The sad thing is that nobody has even heard of this movie which is a shame. Doris is a smart, gentle comedy with heart and stars two older women who are great together. Despite what Hollywood keeps throwing our way, we don’t all want R-rated gross out comedies. Doris is R-rated too, but only for a few swear words that didn’t need to be the script to begin with.
The movie begins at the funeral of Doris’ mother and we soon learn that Doris never married, never moved out of her mother’s house and has had the same job “forever.” She also doesn’t like to throw anything away. She’s a hoarder. For fun, she goes to the YMCA with her friend Roz (Tyne Daly) who has been a widow for 15 years. They are like two peas in a pod and have a great friendship, but Doris is feeling restless. After attending an “empowerment” seminar together that is led by Willy Williams (Peter Gallagher) Doris feels alive and inspired.
Enter John Fremont (Max Greenfield), who has just been hired at Doris’ company as the new art director. Doris has an immediate crush on John when they first meet and Doris becomes determined to have him take notice of her. He does, but is the affection he’s giving her the kind that she really wants? While not really a stalker, Doris “friends” him online and tries to show up at the same places where he hangs out after work. Surprisingly, this goes over well too and she is immediately accepted by his new friends. Doris begins to have the time of her life.
Meanwhile, Roz is concerned that Doris is over her head, her brother Todd (Stephen Root) and his annoying wife Cynthia (Wendi McLendon-Covey) want Doris to move out and clean up the clutter, but she is having none of that.
Doris is the type of person I hope to be some day. Someone who, though afraid, challenges herself with new adventures even when she feels she is too old to do so. The ending of “Doris” is a little weak and unsatisfying. The film also has a scene where there is a lot of sexual innuendo even though in reality it is a harmless scene. Instead of being funny, it comes off as tacky and doesn’t fit the tone of the rest of the film. It can also be used as a lesson for both older adults and younger ones who run into each other at church: Whichever adult you are, don’t be afraid of the other.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.