How Stella Got Her Groove Back, without the exotic locale. Doris (Sally Field) is a sixty-something women who has just lost her mom. Her mother is really all she’s ever had; she’s never been married, or had a place of her own. She’s a holdover at the place she works at, overrun by millennials who hardly know she exists.
By chance one day in the elevator, Doris runs into the new director for her company, John (Max Greenfield), at most half her age. She develops a strong affinity for him, but is afraid to act on it, until she hears some self-help that gives her the motivation that she needs to pursue. Is she just crazy, or does she actually have a shot?
Hello, My Name is Doris is a pleasantly likable, sometimes pretty hilarious, romantic comedy. Directed and co-written by Michael Showalter, at its core, the movie is about letting go of barriers that impede progress, both physically and mentally. At times, it can even be a little off-putting, but it definitely means well.
The film assembles an entertaining cast, with the likes of Stephen Root, Peter Gallagher (playing the funny self-help guru), Tyne Daly, Kumali Nanjiani, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Beth Behrs, and Max Greenfield, with Greenfield having a tad bit of noticeable character and friendly chemistry with Field. Perhaps it is no surprise then that Hello, My Name is Doris has a very pronounced sitcom feel, with so many of the main cast stars being well-known for television. That’s not a bad thing here, as this movie benefits from being very “cozy.” Go ahead and imagine a laugh track in spots, not that hard to see.
But it is the now 70 year-old Sally Field who provides the film with all of the charm, awkwardness, and hilarity. She’s not afraid to make a fool of herself, whether it be in the physical sense (one scene in particular is easily one of the funniest moments that I’ve personally seen in the 2016 calendar year), or the simple reactionary sense. Though her character can sometimes skirt the line of craziness and over-zealousness, Field still manages to make her endearing, heartfelt, and tragic. Not an easy task, and many an actress would probably fail to imbue Doris with this versatility.
If yours truly has one semi-major issue with the production, its the ending. While there is some finality to Doris’ escapade, there are a few loose ends that don’t get tied. I’m all for open-endedness, but in the right movie. Hello, My Name is Doris would benefit from some hardcore resolute finality in my opinion, as how it ends really does make one wonder about the lead character, where she goes next, etc. It feels like it is supposed to be uplifting, but it is actually equal parts depressing and optimistic, which in the end makes it sort of a push.
Hello, My Name is Doris is a cute and breezy watch, more fun than one may initially anticipate. Should you explore this? Absolutely.
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