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Hello, ‘Doris’

Hello, ‘Doris’

In a bedazzled nutshell, Doris’ timeless love story is worthy of moviegoers ranging from mature to Millennial.

Hello, ‘Doris’: May-December Romance Spans Generations


At age 69, Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field is the prime theatrical mover in what may be the indie romance of the year: “Hello: My Name is Doris.

Doris Miller (Sally Field) and John Fremont (Max Greenfield) stroll down lover's lane in "Hello, My Name is Doris." (Courtesy: Roadside Attractions)

Doris Miller (Sally Field) and John Fremont (Max Greenfield) stroll down lover’s lane in “Hello, My Name is Doris.” (Courtesy: Roadside Attractions)

The film’s titular character is a single sixty-something living and working in Manhattan. Her job in a large firm’s accounting department is nothing to write home about. She seems lonely and goes to therapy but somehow avoids opening up while not seeming withdrawn. After a transformative self-help seminar, Doris finally feels motivated to get what she wants. But what is that exactly?

Is she content rambling around the “Hoarders” set she and her late mother called home? Her brother Todd (Stephen Root) and and his grating spouse Cynthia (Wendi McLendon-Covey) urge Doris to clean up and sell the house, perhaps eyeing a percentage. The always whip-smart Tyne Daly plays Doris’ loyal work BFF.

Dressed like a colorblind gumdrop, the otherwise gray mundanity of Doris’ existence builds to a crescendo, and she’s overdue some well-deserved excitement. Doris meets the firm’s new art director, John Fremont (Max Greenfield), in a crowded-elevator meet cute. Instantly and thoroughly twitterpated, she has no idea John is headed to his first day of work . . . at her office.  

A lovestruck Doris manufactures far-fetched excuses to get closer to John. His gregarious responses seem to emanate from kindness, but she mistakenly reads them as a reciprocation of romantic interest instead. Never minding the (age) gap, Doris becomes convinced John is gently pursuing her. Standout supporting and cameo roles include Peter Gallagher, Natasha Lyonne, Elizabeth Reaser, Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff and YouTube comedy star Anna Akana.

John is naturally flirtatious, leading Doris to fall further head-over-heels. After a casual date and innuendo lost in translation, Field and Fremont’s physical comedy chops brilliantly illustrate the absurdity of not just a May-December romance but really any human relationship. When Doris asks John to re-inflate the ergonomic ball that’s replaced her office chair, total hilarity ensues.

“Hello, My Name is Doris”

opens on Thursday, March 17,

at Century 14 Downtown in Albuquerque

and the Violet Crown in Santa Fe.

Visit fandango.com for showtimes.

Misconstrued cues and entirely unsubtle clues prevail throughout. Deceit urged on by adoration nearly always proves dangerous. Doris’ 13-year-old niece helps her make a phony Facebook profile. This act proves a major problem later in the game, one that leads Doris to continue to see John’s intentions as she hopes they are.

Greenfield, star of TV show “New Girl,” also had a role in this year’s Oscar winner “The Big Short.” Greenfield fleshes out the character of John as a genuinely nice guy who unintentionally misled Doris while deeply involved with a woman closer to his own age.

Director Michael Showalter based “Doris” on a short film directed by co-screenwriter Laura Terrus, and he shot the movie in just three weeks. Showalter’s usual stomping ground is TV, including the 2015 miniseries “Wet Hot American Summer” and, more recently, an episode of the hit Netflix comedy “Grace and Frankie.”

“Hello, My Name is Doris” checks all the requisite boxes for a film that’ll rate with adults of all ages. The movie debuted at SXSW in March 2015 and was quickly snapped up by Roadside Attractions. The quirky romantic dramedy won the coveted headliner audience award, so don’t be shocked if much of the blue hair in its theater audience was achieved with a bottle of Manic Panic.

In a bedazzled nutshell, Doris’ timeless love story is worthy of moviegoers ranging from mature to Millennial.

Jeff Berg is New Mexico’s foremost film historian, and he writes about movies for ABQ Free Press.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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