Hello, My Name Is Doris (2016)

One of those movies where I found myself ahead of it. A bit conventional in execution for sure, knew exactly where it was going and which beats it would hit. Ultimately, that didn't matter to me because of Sally Field's commitment to the character and Showalter's willingness to get emotionally confrontational at certain instances. Of course, it helps to have moments of recognition -- either things I've done, things my mom has done, things my aunt has done, therefore certain scenes hit home. It is precisely one of those "indie films" that are ubiquitous these days where an underdog loner attempts to overcome their issues (SKELETON TWINS, OBVIOUS CHILD), but I really think the performance of Sally Field is enough to transcend its lack of originality and Showlater puts his absurdist humor on the back-burner to show genuine compassion for Doris.

I do wish he had let certain scenes breathe more, and there were a couple of things I felt were thrown in haphazardly (the self-help seminar, the electropop singer spotted Doris and suddenly takes a liking?). If I were in a grumpy mood, maybe I'd dock this a 1/2 star, but as a satisfying character study with its heart in its right place, I can't lie, I enjoyed this quite a bit and even got choked up. Maybe the screenplay could've used a rewrite but I think my empathy for Doris was just too high to be overly critical -- which happens a lot with a lot of these movies, I realize. If you really just want to watch a great underrated actress at the top of her game, look no further.  B-

James Laczkowski