It’s 3:02 pm
I first remember hearing about Stage 6/Sony’s “Hello,My Name Is Doris” when the film’s stars,Sally Field and Max Greenfield made a promo appearance on NBC’S “Today Show”.
The story of a much older woman pursuing a much younger man seemed quite charming and very sweet. I thought Field and Greenfield made for a cute couple but I remember getting a sense of discomfort at how the hosts wanted them to kiss onscreen.
They made “Doris” seem like a madcap comedy and even on the cover of the DVD,it pushes “Doris” as funny and that Field is “funny and lovable”.
So that being in mind,I picked up a copy of “Hello,My Name Is Doris” and the cheetah and I settled in for some belly laughs and a happy ending as every romantic-comedy does. But something happened on the way to that sweet ending….it never got there.
In fact,the side splitting laughs never happened either. It turns out that “Doris” has a lot more to say then its “May to December” story line.
Sally Field is Doris,a woman nearing 60 years old in age but socially is 13-14. She works a simple data entry job and we find out she is still there because she was grandfathered when the new company bought the old one. Her co-workers see Doris as a “dinosaur” and don’t interact with her.
She takes care of her dying mother and as we enter her house,we see she is on her way to becoming a hoarder. Her best friend Roz (Tyne Daly) loves her and does her best to care for Doris.
So when John(Greenfield) starts at the company and actually engages Doris in a elevator,Doris is instantly smitten,she has a couple of Walter Mitty fantasy moments and then steals a pencil from John. She starts looking for chances to talk with John,bringing him coffee and trying to catch his attention.
We then see Doris talking to a therapist (the beautiful Elizabeth Reaser) about she is adjusting to life after Doris’s mom dies. When Dr. Edwards suggests coming over to help clean the house,Doris isn’t sure…and when we see her brother and sister-in-law,we understand just how isolated Doris has been and what it cost her emotionally.
Roz’s granddaughter,who is 14,helps Doris set up a fake social media account so she can get closer to John by liking the same things he likes….when John finds out that Doris “likes”his favorite band,he starts liking her as a person and they start bonding during a concert (the cutest part of the movie).
John is a warm character,gentle and thoughtful. He cares for people and its easy to see why Doris falls for him. But when she discovers he has a girlfriend,Doris’s world starts to fall apart,can she recover in time to save both her friendship with John and maybe,her own life as well?
This movie is not a comedy,its a very moving and sad story about self sacrifice and the fracturing of Doris’s soul. You root for her because you can see she is so far behind everyone else and so desperately wants to be loved and to also love….but doesn’t know how it works. Field is very good here and her awkwardness in trying to seduce John is heartbreaking,but the director Michael Showalter,who also co-wrote the screenplay with Laura Terruso,shows tremendous sensitivity in refusing going for cheap laughs about a serious subject.
I only had one small problem here and that was Showalter having Doris have a “Steel Magnolias”type of rant when Roz points out how foolish she has been acting. It felt forced and more importantly,ruined a movie that rightly should have had a PG-13 rating and with two words,earned it a “R” rating which is shame.
Besides the actors already mentioned,Stephen Root as Doris’s brother showed his depth and surprisingly soft heart while Wendi McLendon-Covey’s turn as the cruel and greedy sister-in-law was also strong.
But this is Field and Greenfield’s movie and “Hello,My Name Is Doris” is very good.
As stated,”Doris” is rated “R” language and it runs 90 minutes. The special features are a bit sparse,especially for a major studio movie.
You can buy a copy of “Hello,My Name Is Doris” at Sony Picture’s webstore.
The cheetah and I both liked “Doris” and give it a thumbs/paws up.