Staying Spry – Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015)

Yelling at my television set.  So this is about an older woman named Doris (Sally Field) who has essentially become grandfathered in to the company she works for.  She gets the hots for the new guy (Max Greenfield), but how can she close the deal when there is a barrier of 30+ years between them?  I didn’t know what to expect from this, but it came highly recommend to me by a trusted critic, so I was eager to watch it.  I was actually kind of floored by how much this won me over; it is an atypical story that reverses normality in the traditional storytelling sense that we see in movies, and I will forever love a movie with awkward sensibilities, which this film has for days.

1It’s exactly what I wanted from one of the creative minds behind the sleeper television series Stella.

Now what makes this movie so special is the role reversal that occurs very early on.  You see plenty of movies where the silver fox older man pursues the girl who is young enough to be his daughter, but seldom vice versa.  It’s not like she’s playing a cougar, this is just an older woman who is more of a homebody than anything.  There’s nothing about her that screams sexy, but this is her story and it will be told.  You really have to give it up to Sally Field for having the gall to play a character like this, and it is not something that you very often see.  There are so few actresses out there that have the desire to play this type of character, never mind directors that want to tell their stories.  It is not a flattering role as she plays this sad hoarder of a woman, but Field commits fully, giving it her all to this awkward and creepy older lady.  It reaches the point that you always sympathize with her, despite this being a story where she’s overly quirky to the point of being ineffectual.

2 You always can tell what is real and what is fantasy, and you know exactly what is at stake here.

This movie is the equivalent to watching your mom or grandmother try to hook up with a younger man, and it is as uncomfortable as you would probably imagine.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie that is quite like this before, and it got quite the reaction out of me; it reaches the point that I was shouting at my television in an effort to try and get this woman to stop exacerbating an already awful situation.  This movie is all about the lies that we tell ourselves that allow for us to be happy, and Sally Field brings the character of Doris to life 110%.  I really loved this movie a lot, and I want to watch it again, it is just that delightfully gawky.

Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015) ****1/2

– Critic for Hire

Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2016?  See for yourself here.

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