In this charming little pseudo-romance, Sally Field plays the title character, a never-been-married older woman who falls for John (Max Greenfield), her new co-worker, and the first man who’s caught her interest in decades. The rub is that he is several decades her junior. But this doesn’t stop Doris, who put her life on hold years ago to care for her sick mother, from pursuing what she feels may be her last shot at love.
Doris has some other obstacles standing in the way of a relationship with John, including but not limited to: her brother, Todd (Stephen Root), and his wife, Cynthia (Wendi McLendon-Covey), who are only interested in getting her to sell their mother’s house, her best friend, Roz (Tyne Daly), who believes that Doris is making a fool of herself, and John’s girlfriend, Brooklyn (Beth Behrs). But plucky Doris is determined to win John’s affections, and certainly manages to forge a fast friendship with him, simply by being herself.
Doris’s charm is undeniable, as is her awesome pre-gentrification-hipster style, and despite her age, she consistently brings out the youthfulness and sincerity in those around her. Hello, My Name is Doris delicately navigates this would-be May-December romance, never painting Doris as pathetic, ugly, or uninterested in sex, as older women are often depicted. We also see how patriarchal conventions and gendered expectations have long-lasting repercussions for women, as we dissect Doris’s relationship with Todd. Besides getting a first row seat to Doris’s feelings for John, we also get a peripheral view of how John navigates his feelings for Doris.
I give this one 4 stars.