Love can come at any time and place in life, and Doris Miller’s (Sally Field) fantasy romance unfolds when she is in her sixties. Director Michael Showalter gives audiences a funny, endearing comedy with “Hello, My Name is Doris.” The film tackles issues with aging, identifying with young people, family disputes, and friendship.
The movie begins with Doris’s brother and sister-in-law (Stephen Root and Wendi McLendon-Covey) trying to force Doris to sell her mother’s house, clean her hoarded clutter and change careers. This would not be so devastating if this conversation did not take place at Doris and Tom’s mother’s funeral. To complicate Doris’s life, she falls in love with the twenty-something art director, Max (John Fremont), at her office. Doris discovers that she can learn about John on his Facebook profile, and she attempts to start a relationship with him. Doris becomes friends with John and his circle of hipsters, but she alienates herself from her oldest friend Roz (Tyne Daly).
The movie makes many references to the clash between older people and hipster culture as John and all of his friends are hipsters. While the movie could have simply portrayed hipsters as obnoxious, one-dimensional people, they are instead portrayed as genuinely caring and accepting of Doris.
The movie received its “R” rating due to language as opposed to nudity. Despite the premise of an older woman seducing a much younger man, “Hello, My Name is Doris” does not follow the same road as “The Graduate.” There are no sex scenes, and Doris comes off as somewhat innocent throughout the movie. Doris’s innocence adds to her charm as she has lived a rather sheltered yet painful life to this point.
Doris appears to be a set piece herself as she sports outlandishly bright outfits in each scene. This makes her the center of each scene she is in and visually conveys how out-of-place she is throughout the movie. The only time she truly “fits-in” is at a concert where all the people in attendance are dressed as eccentrically as her, and she makes such a good impression with the young people that the band includes her in their album artwork.
The best aspect of the movie is actually the least funny scene in the movie. Tom, Cynthia, and Doris’s psychiatrist Dr. Edwards (Elizabeth Reaser) attempt to clean Doris’s cluttered house. Doris suffers a breakdown in which she reveals the pent-up resentment she feels towards her brother for leaving her to care for their mother while he got an education and started a business. The scene accurately portrays the mindset of a hoarder and the resentment family members can feel towards each other when one is forced to care for an aging relative.
One complaint about this film is that John stays a fairly one-dimensional character throughout the story. He never progresses much above a handsome love-interest as opposed to Doris who evolves and grows as the movie progresses.
“Hello, My Name is Doris” is a light-hearted comedy with serious elements aimed at older audiences who may be dealing with aging and mid-life crises. The only unintelligent aspect of the movie is the lack of character development in John, but Field’s performance is so compelling that she makes up for John’s generic qualities. This movie earns a 4/5.