There are certain actors out there that have made a living being a television and/or movie star. Sally Field is one of them. It’s a difficult business to break into and, more to the point, a difficult one to make a career in. I’m always amazed when I see actors over the age of 60 who continue to not only work, but do good work. There’s something to say for that. I remember an interview with Quentin Tarantino in which he was discussing how he cast for his films. He basically said “the studios have this list of names and usually it changes every five years or so…” In essence, you’ve got your “hot” actors which is why things go in trends. Take actors like Helen Hunt, Rachel Weitz or Roberto Benigni – all great and talented performers and all have won an Academy Award, but you just don’t see them in many movies these days. Contrast that with Sally Field who has been steadily working since the 60’s. Suffice it to say, when I’d heard of her role in this film, I was curious to see what the fuss was about. A 60 year old woman falling for her 30-something boss? Ok, now this I have to see!
Doris (Sally Field) has just lost her mother. She’s cared for her for years, but now that she’s gone there’s a void in her life. Her brother (Stephen Root) is on her to sell the place so they can collect some of the money, but Doris is stubborn and also has a tendency towards hoarding. She works as an accountant in a trendy New York business, taking the ferry from Staten Island to Manhattan. While seeing a motivational speaker (Peter Gallagher), she’s inspired to act on her feelings for a new Art Director that started at her place of employment. His name is John (Max Greenfield, TV’s New Girl) and he’s from Malibu, California. Starting innocently enough, she – with the help of her friend’s granddaughter – creates a fake social media account to get to “know” John a bit better. The two seem to have chemistry, but Doris’ heart is broken when she finds out that he’s got a girlfriend. All the while, Doris is on the road to recovery as her newfound interest is helping her come out of her shell (and her house). Of course, things can’t possibly work between a middle-aged woman and a young man, can they?
I read an online review of this movie and the reviewer called this movie “creepy”. Sorry, I just don’t see that. I think this movie could have been very depressing, actually, but I rather enjoyed the way the filmmakers handled the subject matter. I’m sure that there are many “Doris’s” out there and I think that the movie will actually speak to a lot of people, particularly the introverts. Make no mistake that this is Sally Field’s movie, though she is surrounded by some older and seasoned actors like Stephen Root and Tyne Daly (if you remember her from TV’s Cagney and Lacey, good on you)! I don’t know if this performance will have the legs to merit Sally Field another Oscar nomination or not, but as I mentioned in the opening paragraph – it’s good to see such a talented actress producing some top notch material. While this film might not be for everyone, I happened to enjoy it.
Video: How does it look?
Presented in a 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer, Hello, My Name is Doris looks surprisingly good. Some of the Sony Pictures Classics films are a bit on the hit and miss side, but this one exudes a crystal clear picture from the start. I really wasn’t able to find anything wrong with the picture, per se. Detail is spectacular, colors are bold and bright and about the only determent was that some of the scenes seemed a bit light, like there was a slight film or haze over the picture. Then again, maybe I need to check the calibration on my television. I can’t think of any reason why anyone would be disappointed while watching this.
Audio: How does it sound?
Surprisingly robust. I really wasn’t expecting anything out of this soundtrack, but there are actually quite a few scenes that really made me sit up and take notice. There’s a concert at a club that really sounds great as well as a few other choice songs throughout. Vocals are rich and crisp, lacking any distortion and though the surrounds aren’t used a whole lot (except for the aforementioned “club” scene), it’s of no consequence. By and large, I was more than impressed and this DTD HD Master Audio soundtrack did deliver the goods.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Audio Commentary – Director Michael Showalter offers up a very well thought out and candid commentary track. He mentions the budget, some details on the shoot and, of course, what it was like to work with the lovely Sally Field.
Deleted Scenes – A very robust selection of deleted and extended scenes are included, several of which I’d have liked to have seen included in the final cut (the film was only 95 minutes long, so it could have benefitted from a bit more “beefing up”).
These Balls are BS
I Like Your Socks
Singles Over Sixty
Chinos vs. Khakis
Oh No She Doesn’t
We Should All Move to Staten Island
Lick the Victrola
Spending More Time Together
Anything Was Possible (Extended)
This is a Space Fit for Love and Healing
Previews – The Meddler, Grandma, The Bronze, Dear Eleanor, Emma’s Chance, The Driftless Area
The Bottom Line
Much like Lily Tomlin in Grandma, Sally Field has very little to prove to anyone. With two Oscars under her belt and a very successful career, it’s quite amazing to see her continue to deliver a great performance in the twilight of her acting career. A bit on the light-hearted side, Hello, My Name is Doris is a pretty fun film with a solid Blu-ray presentation and a smattering of extras. Recommended.