Wednesday, April 6, 2016

[Review] Hello, My Name is Doris

Sally Field is wonderfully quirky as she essentially plays the human embodiment of a motivational cat poster in this indie comedy Hello, My Name is Doris. It's nearly impossible not to like.

"Are you lost? Do you feel empty?" 

Doris (Field) finds herself nodding yes to these questions as she sits in on a life coach speech. Her hodgepodge attire matches her sporadic personality. She rocks double glasses. Not bifocals--I mean two pairs of glasses at the same time. The next day at work, she has one of those awkward face-to-face encounters with a stranger in an elevator. This stranger is John (Max Greenfield), a young and hip *millennial* (His favorite band is "Baby Goya and the Nuclear Winters", a fictional version of Jack Antonoff's Bleachers project). Anyway, Doris catches major feelings for John. Like, steamy daydream fantasy sequence feelings. She decides to pursue him, and some modernized You've Got Mail shenanigans ensue.

This film is quite a pleasure to watch. And you'll rarely see me use a word like this in a film review, but it's... cute. There's a nice amount of humor throughout, especially during a couple of squirmy scenes that evoke nervous giggles. It's filled with a cast that consistently delights. Max Greenfield turns the charm levels way up. Natasha Lyonne ("Orange Is the New Black"), Kumail Nanjiani, and Beth Behrs also appear in likable supporting roles.

But it's absolutely no secret that Sally Field is the tour-de-force here. She's comical, spunky, sympathetic, and fervently emotional. Doris simultaneously chases youth and attempts to hold onto her past. We're always rooting for her, even though her stumbles might make us facepalm or experience vicarious embarrassment. This demographic of lead character is not common in mainstream Hollywood, although there seems to be a slight increase lately, and it's welcome.

The film packages some sugary and agreeable themes that are wound together pretty clear and succinctly. Move on when you need to. Embrace fresh beginnings. Go for what you want. It's still okay to be sentimental. You don't need to only be one thing or the other ("Fresh Vintage!"). Loosen up and enjoy a movie like Hello, My Name is Doris.

It's never too late!