In Brief: To quote Sally Field, “You like me, you really like me.” And it was true then and it’s true for Hello, My Name is Doris.
Sally Field is ditzy Doris Miller. She’s a hoarder who never moved out of the home of her also hoarder late parents. Doris takes the ferry into the city every day and works in a cubicle at a marketing firm. Then Max Greenfield’s John Freemont joins the company and Doris’ world is turned upside down.
Greenfield is half her age or more but she’s the man of Doris’ dreams. And those dreams end up being daydreams where Doris’ vivid imagination runs wild and provides plenty of laughs for her co-workers and you.
Things really heat up when her best friend’s daughter shows Doris how do friend Freemont on Facebook. She writes him steamy messages and piques his interest. And at work one thing leads to another and Doris and John become friends. From FB she learns all about his likes and one of them is a band. Doris buys the CD and when Freemont notices they go to a concert.
Meanwhile, Doris’ brother and sister-in-law want her to clean up the house and sell it. Doris is very reluctant. Like all hoarders, she is loathe to part with anything. Some of the rat’s nest mess is her parents stuff and some is hers.
In the end Doris can’t hide her true feelings for Freemont and her life grows even more complicated.
Still a great actress and — when she dresses up — a looker, Field has a field day as dotty old Doris. It’s a meaty part. Doris is multi-dimensional and complex and it gives Field a chance to show off her considerable comedy chops as well as a flare for the dramatic.
Writer/director Michael Showalter and writer Laura Terruso’s dialogue is fast and funny. Doris weaves a tangled web and one that leads to a chance for some really good actors to shine. The friendship and fantasies with Greenfield (TV’s New Girl) are fun, and sometimes profound. However, the best bits come from Field and Tyne Daly (Judging Amy) who plays her best friend Roz. She loves her friend but thinks she’s fallen off the end of the pier.
And — in reality — Doris has.
Stephen Root and Natasha Lyonne play Doris’ brother and sister-in-law. Much of the dialogue in Hello, My Name is Doris is comic. The family conflict takes the movie a whole other direction. It reveals a different side to Doris and one not seen by Freemont or her co-workers. Eventually it leads to conversation with a counselor and an attempt to find a life balance.
Terruso who got raves for the short film — Doris & the Intern — that this one is based upon. Doris is comedy and quite funny and there are places where it’s dramatic and kind of intense. And like real life, even in the humor and there’s plenty of it, Hello, My Name is Doris is often deep.
Director: Michael Showalter
Stars: Sally Field, Tyne Daly, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Stephen Root, Natasha Lyonne, Peter Gallagher
Rated R for mature themes, language. This one is terrific from the opening scenes to the impossibly funny close. Rate it 4 1/2 on the Average Joe scale of 0 to 5.
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5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.
Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.
Got a movie suggestion or comment? Email him!