Director: Michael Showalter
Cast: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Tyne Daly
Watch Hello, My Name Is Doris online in the UK: iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
Sally Field’s recent career resurgence has seen her playing such iconic roles as Spider-Man’s Aunt May and Mary Todd Lincoln, but while her ability to bring weight to dramatic roles has been clear, the light touch and sparkle in the eye of younger Field roles hasn’t been seen for a while. That is, until Hello, My Name Is Doris, a comedy about a sexagenarian whose life changes upon visiting a self-help seminar, and she begins to attempt to court a youthful hottie working in her office.
Director and co-writer Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer and They Came Together) infuses the film with a sense of fun and plenty of goofy moments and enjoyable side-characters, played by the likes of Kumail Nanjiani, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Mad Men’s Rich Sommer, to turn what could be a sad film about an older woman’s obsession with youth into a rib-splitting comedy with some genuinely sweet moments and heart stirred deep within.
While the film does let others shine, such as New Girl’s Max Greenberg as the focus of Doris’ affections (and an always welcome Stephen Root for good measure), there’s no doubting that Hello, My Name Is Doris is Sally Field’s movie through and through. Field is funny and unrestrained, yet flowing with sensitivity and anguish, as Doris continually dreams of scenarios only to find real life doesn’t quite work out as perfectly as that – and, of course, Doris is left to pick up the awkward pieces of every human interaction she suffers. Field is stunning in the role, and we as an audience are taken through a genuine human journey with Doris because of that.
Hello, My Name Is Doris’ only real problems stem from fitting into narrative convention: act three of the screenplay just feels a little too easy and ultimately hampers the ingenuity and joy of the first hour, but beyond that it’s a wonderful film of many laughs, a few cries and a lot of smiling long after the credits have passed. Hello, My Name Is Doris was denied a big release in the UK, pushed to live a life on VOD only, but with it now available on Netflix UK, click play on it as soon as you possibly can, then feel a little better about the world.