Movies about love come along all the time. As a matter of fact, love stories are even in movies that have nothing to do with the subject. They’re around so much that you pretty much know what to expect before you even decide to watch a movie,. That’s part of what makes Hello, My Name is Doris different. While it is about the familiar emotions involved in love, it’s not done in the conventional ways that we’re regularly used to seeing it.
In this film, an older woman named Doris Miller (Sally Field) finds herself in a unique situation when a new co-worker is hired at her job. His name is John Fremont (Max Greenfield), and he’s the kind of guy that Doris is completely smitten with. Feeling that he’s out of reach due to their difference in age, Doris is hesitant to even try to win his heart at first. However, with some inspiration, she decides to ignore convention and give her all to gain his attention and get him to fall for her.
As far as its tone is concerned, Hello, My Name is Doris kind of reminds me of While We’re Young. There’s a vibe here that’s very free flowing here while it also captures bits of New York’s vibrant personality. That’s odd to say when speaking of a movie geared toward an older audience. One would think it would be somewhat even tempered and a bit more coy, but they take a youthful route that I believe adults within all age groups can relate to and find interesting.
In terms of its premise, this also reminds me of The Salt of Life, a comedy out of Italy that was released in 2011. They’re both about older people wanting to find love with youngsters, but unlike this film, The Salt of Life focuses on an older gentleman traveling down a path that’s identical in at least a few ways. Just like that movie, I happened to find Hello, My Name is Doris to be charming based on its characters and the overall heart that’s being put on display.
Ultimately, that’s part of what makes movies like this engaging and likeable. The stories here are understood from a perspective of realism while never really insulting the protagonists of these films by making them weak or hopeless. This makes for an absorbing experience that delivers a number of opportunities for audiences to laugh at the assorted scenarios as you kind of cheer for the characters to find some level of success or satisfaction.
Obviously, a key element of Hello, My Name is Doris or any other movie like this is making the audience laugh. The comedy here is pretty good and holds up throughout the entire film. That’s always tricky as well as a difficult thing to keep going, but having this only last for 90 minutes gives it a better chance to flourish. This fits with what I’ve always believed about comedies anyway. These pictures should never last for much longer than this one does, and you can see why this continuously proves to be the case.
Leading the entire thing is Sally Field. Her costars help her out, but she’s simply a joy to watch and proves to be a perfect match for the Doris character that she’s portraying. During her time in front of the camera, she manages to be lively, energetic and pleasant while starring in a provocative R rated movie. I don’t know how many other actresses could fit here, but selecting her for this role was great and only made what’s seen that much stronger.
In a day when gross out humor is the primary source of comedy in Hollywood, it’s nice to see a movie geared toward adults rely on actual humor to amuse its viewers. The comedy that’s blended into a story about coping with loss, searching for love and reaching for seemingly unattainable goals makes Hello, My Name is Doris worth the trip to theaters. I don’t expect it to make a ton of money, but I’m hoping that people give it the chance it deserves before just passing on it.
Director: Michael Showalter
Film Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: March 18, 2016
Distributor: Roadside Attractions