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Hello, My Name is Doris – Movie Review

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Hello, My Name is Doris – Movie Review

Rating: A- (Great)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Sony Pictures

The divide between the current generation of “hipsters” and previous generations may seem wide in appearance, but there’s a lot of common ground there. Hello, My Name is Doris manages to tap into that nicely, thanks to its cleverly written screenplay and the lead performance from Sally Field. Director/co-writer Michael Showalter manages to gain humour both from the unusual trends of today and the reactions from those trying to keep up with them. As much as other character see the titular Doris as the oddball, she rather plays the role of the straight woman in this wacky world of “selfies” and “hashtags.”

At the centre of Hello, My Name is Doris is Sally Field’s warm and funny performance. She never turns Doris into a pathetic figure, even when she tries to keep as much of her mother’s belongings as possible and she becomes infatuated with a new co-worker. Seeing her try to navigate the current trends of the modern era is humourous, but never at her expense as she appears genuinely interested in what entertains the youth of today. Despite her ulterior motives, there is a sweet kinship she shares with Max Greenfield’s John. Seeing her growing more connected with the rest of the office is also portrayed well, particularly since they never become cruel in their treatment of Doris.

Another running theme of Hello, My Name is Doris is the importance of letting go and moving forward. Watching Doris dealing with her mother’s death is heartbreaking and her coming to grips with discarding her possessions is likely something everyone will have to deal with. While Wendi McLendon-Covey’s sister-in-law is written in an obvious and one-dimensional manner, Stephen Root works well as Doris’s brother. He himself is dealing with his mother passing on in his own way and there’s both a confusion and understanding at Doris’s actions. There’s also some humourous scenes shared between Doris and a friend’s granddaughter as she slowly becomes intertwined with the Facebook culture of today.

This film really is a showcase for Sally Field. It’s always great to see her in a leading role and this allows her to dig into both her comedic strengths and her dramatic acting skills. It almost feels like the role was written specifically for her and one hopes that this will launch her into more parts as good as this one. Michael Showalter and his co-writer Laura Terruso deserve equal credit for crafting a sweet and funny little movie that takes a respectful look at all age groups without feeling the need to generalize them. Even the jokes that somewhat mock today’s youth never come across as mean-spirited, but rather light ribbing. Hello, My Name is Doris is the sort of film sure to connect many folks of different generations.

Stefan Ellison

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