Hello, My Name Is Doris Review: Geriatric love

Chad White
Loves: The entirety of this cast, Indie comedies, romcoms
Likes: Short montagesDislikes: Old people
Hates: The friendzone :(

What’s your method, Doris?

Never has a movie come across this writer’s desk that took the appropriate twists and turns that Hello, My Name Is Doris did. Romantic comedies are due for a bit of a remix and this movie does just that. A woman likes a man she can’t have? It’s been done countless times before but putting a considerable age gap between the two throws in just enough spice to keep the story interesting. While Hello, My Name Is Doris doesn’t reinvent sliced bread, it does add blueberries to it to make it a bit sweeter.

Sally Field stars as the titular character who is in a rut after her mother dies. Her brother Todd (Stephen Root) and his wife Cynthia (Wendi McLendon-Covey) want her to move out of their childhood home. Her best friend Roz (Tyne Daly) wants her to find a man to date. Doris is reluctant to do any of those things but eventually falls for her new coworker John (Max Greenfield). With the help of Roz’s granddaughter (Isabella Acres), Doris tries to land the man. Hello, My Name Is Doris’ supporting cast is filled with comedy favorites like Kumail Nanjiani, Rich Sommer, and Natasha Lyonne as well as other big names like Jack Antonoff, Peter Gallagher, and others. No one outside of the immediate family and friends gets much to do but it’s nice to have them there.

The movie begins innocently enough. Like all movies, however, things slowly unravel. All of the stalking that Doris does from Facebook to finding out John’s favorite band and going to the concert with hopes of running into him rears its ugly head. Soon, Doris finds out that he has a girlfriend (Beth Behrs) and she becomes too clingy. It’s a natural progression that paints Doris in an unflattering light. Michael Showalter and Laura Terruso’s -- who is making her big screen debut -- script is a pleasure to see on screen. While it may not be the intention, the stalky aspects come across very well. Showalter’s direction, too, is a joy to see. It’s nothing flashy but it’s done a lot better than other movies in the same category.

There isn’t much tension throughout save for the lying that Doris does. She goes to great lengths to get to know John and unwittingly to him follow every aspect of his life. But, throughout the film, the notion that this could all happen went up in the air with reason. Wouldn’t Doris have been better off by asking him out earlier? There’s also a plot regarding Doris’ hoarding which tears her apart from her family that only gets its time to shine when she visits Todd. And she only ever hangs out with Roz just to talk to Vivian. While good, the script is still loose and almost has its logic undone.

Should you watch Hello, My Name Is Doris?

Indie movies come and go and only a few leave a mark on the viewer. It’s safe to say that Hello, My Name Is Doris can leave an impact thanks to its memorable story. Michael Showalter and Laura Terruso did a solid job with the. Sally Field is a laudable lead and the rest of the cast does well too. Give this movie a go.

 

Notes

  • This is the first movie that Showalter directed (to my and IMDB’s knowledge). The second is one starring, written and produced by Kumail Nanjiani called The Big Sick, a movie about how he met his wife -- Emily V. Gordon --  who also wrote and produced. I loved these people.
  • Max Greenfield wins best smile. He and Beth Behrs win cutest couple.
  • This movie falls under the “mention Facebook countlessly but has a totally different looking Facebook” umbrella.