‘Hello, My Name is Doris’ delivers authentic charm

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‘Hello, My Name is Doris’ delivers authentic charm

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I’m a pretty big fan of disliking things, and I’ve accumulated quite a list of things to dislike. Sharing. Walking up stairs. Telling my parents where I’m going. Romantic comedies. Pineapple. Of course, the list goes on, but I’ll spare you the rest—it’s a long one. Now, I’ve taken a bit of crap for my dislike—dare I say, hatred—of romantic comedies, but, like my indiscriminant loathing of Quentin Tarantino, I stand by my feelings. Thankfully, “Hello, My Name is Doris” had its share of romance (be it semi-one-sided and borderline bizarre) and more than a little comedy, but, sure as I hate the color mustard yellow, it was not a romantic comedy. And that’s probably why I liked it so much.

Two time Academy Award winner Sally Field plays Doris Miller, a middle-aged woman with a quirky sense of fashion and bit of a hording habit, who develops a crush on John Fremont (Max Greenfield), a new co-worker and a much, much younger man. The film then watches little Doris – prompted by a desire to endear herself to young Mr. Fremont and, perhaps subconsciously, adapt to the recent loss of her mother – come into her own.

Having lived with and taken care of her mother for decades, Doris’s transition into life after her passing is not an easy one. It is made more difficult by a brother- and sister-in-law who seek to hurry that transition along by forcing her to declutter her burgeoning house. In the face of these changes, Doris relies on her best friend, Roz (Tyne Daly), for support. It is Roz who brings Doris to a self-help seminar, wherein Doris finds the inspiration to woo her handsome new colleague. With the help of Roz’s granddaughter Vivian (Isabella Acres), Doris begins her pursuit while entering into the terrifying young adult realm of Facebook, EDM and “Never Have I Ever”—learning a bit about herself along the way.

The thing that makes the movie so enjoyable is that it isn’t just one thing. It it’s not just Doris pursuing a hunk or Doris allowing herself to let go and move forward, it’s both — along with a sneaky little commentary on today’s culture as well (#tight #nooneusespencilsanymore #atwhatpointdowebecomeparodiesofourselves?). I left the theater feeling sad—that type of sadness that comes after you’ve learned something you weren’t yet prepared to know. Don’t worry, though, because it was a satisfied sort of sadness, the honest kind of sadness, and that’s just what I want in a movie. If I’m not a strange bundle of confused solemnity and hope at the end of a movie, then that movie just couldn’t have been very good (yep, you know you’re in this group “The Notebook”). Because, if there’s anything I like less than rom-coms, it’s what they’re made out of: emotional dishonesty.  Thankfully, none was to be found with Sally Field leading the way in “Hello, My Name is Doris,” a movie that shows us that change never stops being scary, but proves that that might just be okay.