I’d heard some positive things about Hello, My Name is Doris, but I was apprehensive about seeing it as movie #100. I heard it was funny and when I saw Max Greenfield, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Stephen Root, and Kumail Nanjiani were in the film I was convinced it would be enjoyable. An odd encounter during the trailers where a person sat next to me and I did my usual introverted lean away and stare straight ahead only to be shocked by, “Jon?” actually helped me connect to the quirky lead played by Sally Field. I ended up loving this movie and I believe it should be on everyone’s Must See list.
Doris Miller (Field) is a sixty-something hoarder with a cat that just lost her mother who she has always taken care of and seems to have a hole in her life. After attending a self-help seminar with her friend Roz (Tyne Daly) she’s inspired to romantically pursue her younger co-worker, John Fremont (Max Greenfield).
Sally Field’s is transcendent in this film. I rode the emotional rollercoaster with her in this film. Her reactions to everything are comedic, heart breaking, or inspiring and it makes the journey of this film a memorable one. I’ve seen her in films before, but this is the first one where I will be talking about her performance for a while. Her character’s awkwardness and timid nature is perfect with the story that is being told.
There were many great scenes in this film, but one that stood out was her first meeting with John Fremont on the elevator. It’s over crowded and they are a few inches from each other. It’s clear she finds him attractive and doesn’t know how to respond to his line of questions and compliments he is dishing out trying to alleviate the awkward tension. She mumbles some answers and eventually the elevator clears out enough that he can turn around and separate a bit. That’s when she notices the pencil he has clearly chewed on a bit and she steals it as memorabilia of their first meeting. It really reveals a lot about Doris and the impact her sheltered life has had on her personality.
The best part of this film is the ability to deliver some really great comedic moments in a film that has a deeply tragic character. The hipsters love Doris as her knitted garments are all the rage and she fits right into their “vintage” lifestyle. Add in some great comedic performances from all the names and more and the laughs this film earned are the most I’ve uttered in a theater this year. Then for the film to be able to bring me back to a point of 2nd hand embarrassment that I actually had to look away from the screen in empathetic despair shows how excellent a job writer Laura Terruso and director/writer Michael Showalter did in telling their story.
I definitely recommend you catch this film at your earliest convenience. I was lucky that my local theater actually ended up showing it, but I’m sure it’ll be on VOD sooner than later. If you’ve seen it or when you see it let me know what you think in the comments!