Hello, My Name is Doris is that rare film that combines everything you hope for in a festival that is supposed to deliver on groundbreaking cinema and individuality. This marks two time Oscar winner Sally Field’s return to lead status in a long time. Recently nominated for her supporting turn in Lincoln, this film sends the 68 year old actress to a place we have never seen before. Not only will this end up being one of the most memorable and eclectic performances of the year, it also refutes the notion that there are no creative and fully realized roles for actresses over 50. The creativity in the script and the imagination in the costumes make this more than just an acting vehicle.

Following the death of her mother, Doris (Field), who has lived in the same house caring for her mother, gets a wild fascination for a young employee at her office. Doris and her mother were hoarders and she can’t turn down a good looking lamp, even if it’s on the street. Her wardrobe is a hodgepodge of vintage colors and patterns, complete with an extension on her head wrapped to perfection with a matching scarf. Her interest in Jack (Greenfield) takes her outside the comfort zone and into a new world of techno music and social media she has never explored. Her friends begin to worry about her state of mind as she falls deeper in love and fantasy.  

What Field does as the title character is completely let go into a role that allows her to not only explore new facets of her career, but this will introduce the iconic Steel Magnolias actress to a new generation. Some of Field’s day dream sequences leave her character in a frozen state of bewilderment that’s rip-roaring hilarious when the reality sets in. A self-help guru, played by Peter Gallagher, blows Doris's mind when he changes her frequent use of the word “impossible” to “I’m Possible”. That becomes her mantra to go after Jack and step out of her abandoned existence. Field explained at the Q&A how the clothes helped define Doris; however, the wardrobe is like its own character in the film.

Hello, My Name is Doris has a similar tone to Lars and the Real Girl in the way it seamlessly blends comedy and drama. There are tears of sympathy, empathy and laughter all wrapped up in one. Doris was created by co-writer Laura Terruso and is a character that, in 90 minutes, we fall deeply for. She is written, conceived and portrayed so well that we feel excitement and embarrassment for her. She becomes an instant icon, and a hero for breaking the mold. Greenwood and Field really share some amazing moments as she enjoys a rock concert on his shoulders. It’s a more embracing and moving study than, say, the creepy Harold & Maude.

Final Thought – Field gives an absolutely fantastical performance that is Oscar worthy in every sense.

Grade A-

By: Dustin Chase