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Hello, My Name is Doris (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 90 minutes.

OK for children.

This is a film that touches on many things in a fast 90 minutes, aging, devoting one’s life to care of a parent, infatuation with a younger person, hording, self-help seminars, fantasy, coming of age, and acceptance.

Doris (two-time Oscar® winner Sally Field), who has cared for her elderly mother while her brother lived his life, finds herself alone in a house by herself after her mother dies. She becomes infatuated with a new co-worker, John Fremont (Max Greenfield), at least 30 years younger, and the movie is about how that develops and how it affects everyone’s lives.

Directed by Michael Showalter from a script by Laura Terruso and Showalter, from a short, 8-minute film by Terruso when she was a film student, Field gives an especially touching performance as the aging Doris who deludes herself.  While the entire cast is very good, Greenfield is believable as a charming guy who unintentionally gives Doris the wrong idea.

Morally, the movie has one huge flaw that seems to preach that the end justifies the means. I don’t want to spoil the story but without that flaw I would have rated it higher. That part of the film is like a pebble in my shoe.

Of interest is that even though the film is set in Brooklyn it was shot entirely in Los Angeles except for some shots of the Staten Island Ferry. For example, John’s Williamsburg loft is in downtown Los Angeles. One of the more noticeable parts of the film is the wardrobe Doris wears, consisting of 50 changes throughout the film. To say that what she wears is outré is like damning with faint praise. Whatever you want to call it, what she wears is a huge part of the film.

If this film had come out near the end of the year, I think that Field would be up for another Oscar®. What she conveys in her eyes and facial expressions is what makes the film a grabber. I think you'll "really like her!"