Director: Michael Showalter

Starring: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Tyne Daly

Year: 2015

Last year, I’ll See You in My Dreams was the first For Your Consideration screener I received to start the season.  The early discs are never the real Oscar front runners, and that film was no exception, but it was surprisingly solid, a story about an aging woman coming to terms with her life and the way she would deal with the younger generations.  Hello, My Name is Doris was the first screener I received this year, and coincidentally is turns out to be from the exact same genre.  Instead of Blythe Danner we have Sally Field, but we still have an early death that rattles the main character’s world, a love affair that just might brighten up their autumn years, and lessons galore that are there for the learning if only they’d open there eyes.  Also similarly, Doris is quiet good, as was Dreams, so let’s hope this style/tradition continues.

Doris is a woman in her sixties who has never really grown up.  She still lives with her mother in the family home, still ferries to work in the city every day, still owns every piece of junk she & her mother have collected over the years, and has never committed to becoming an adult; love, marriage, children, independence.  But when Doris’ mother dies, her world is shaken, and she’s forced to honestly look at herself in the mirror for the first time.  Before she does though, she has time for one small fantasy, and that is the idea that her young, newly hired boss might fall in love with her. Doris begins a friendship with John after finding out what his interests are and copying them for herself, a game that won’t end well.  And when the charade collapses, she will be left with a house that needs uncluttered, a series of poor choices that will need addressed, and a life that must be nudged back on track.

There is a lot to touch on with this film, so let’s dive in.  Showalter, who isn’t really a movie director, actor, or much of a writer for that matter, actually does a fine job.  He starred in Wet Hot American Summer, does some bad TV work, but isn’t a big film guy, so it’s surprising that he crafts a nice feature here, though most of that is to Sally Field’s credit.  She’s super here, very funny, quite lovable, and quietly deep.  Much like Danner is Dreams, Field plays both goofy & serious to a tee.  She’s helped along by Tyne Daly, playing her best friend to immaculate perfection.  There were a couple Ally McBeal moments tossed in that weren’t my favorite, but I saw the point, a couple side actors that were unnecessary, although I’m starting to like Kyle Mooney, and a general sense that this movie is good, not great.  But much more went well than poorly, and I can recommend Doris to most everyone, especially female baby boomers.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆