Thursday, September 10, 2020

“To Be Young Was Very Heaven”- Sally Field’s "Hello, My Name Is Doris" (2015)

“To Be Young Was Very Heaven”- Sally Field’s "Hello, My Name Is Doris" (2015) 

DVD Review

By Sam Lowell 

Hello, My Name Is Doris, starring Sally Field, Max Greenfield, 2015  

You know if you watch enough movies and review them as well every once in a while a film will knock you for a loop. Take the film under review Sally Field’s Hello, My Name Is Doris. Now usually when the subject of a film is an older (oops, mature) woman who is involved romantically in any way with a younger man the natural assumption is (or used to be) that he was “her kept man,” “her handy man,” if you  want to invoke a blues expression, her rasping at faded youth, maybe a gigolo, maybe just looking for the main chance or she was on a lark merely “robbing the cradle” (the term used in my old corner boy neighborhood growing up but usually in reverse-guys around the corner once they got out of high school still sniffing around from “jailbait” if you get my drift). This one turns that idea, that 20th century older woman pursuing a younger man idea in the early 21st century on its head. Makes the whole thing of all things a romantic comedy-and socially okay.     

Now intergenerational sex (or sexual attraction as here) has always been a thorny issue as mentioned above. Here though mainly through AARP-worthy stalwart actor Sally Field’s extraordinary performance as the Doris of the title makes the idea the stuff of legitimate dreams.  (Field, who for the oldsters reading this will remember that she started as a flying nun in the 1960s, is thus no spring chicken). Takes the new-fashion idea that 60 is the new, let’s say 40, and runs with it. 

Here’s the play. Doris is a holdover from an old-line company which got bought up by some tech-savvy outfit. One day John is introduced to the staff as the new art director and thus starts Doris’ flights of fancy (although she had already “met” him in the elevator coming up). Now Doris is starting out kind of dowdy, definitely not “hip” having lived her pedestrian life caring for her now departed aged mother on Staten Island. And like dear mother had turned into an inveterate pack-rat. But she is smitten by John and come hell or high water she after attending a “power of positive thinking seminar” is ready to rock the boat of her humble and dreary existence and make her play.   

This fantasy though would only be a fantasy without the help of a feisty thirteen year old granddaughter of Doris’s best friend. You automatically know you are in the 21st century because the way Doris will attempt to hook her man is via that feisty granddaughter’s use of Facebook to find out what makes dear John tick and that otherwise Doris would have been clueless if not for this timely intervention. Problem: a young good-looking upwardly mobile guy in New York City is not going to “friend” some dowdy AARPer so, like a lot of people on the Internet they make up a fake profile for Doris. Bingo it works. 

Works better when she finds out what his musical interests are and forms a live friendship through that association. Problem” John is already “spoken for” by a beautiful younger woman. Problem solved: that younger beauty breaks it off with John when she suspects he is fooling around with some assumed to be young woman on the Internet. Uh, Sally of course. Sally makes her big move but no way is John going for her except in her dreams (and maybe at the end). What makes this one worth watching is how Sally Field takes a tough subject and makes it seem totally normal and without overdoing the sappy pulling for emotion part. Attention all AARPers see this one-younger folks better ask your parents’ permission.   

No comments:

Post a Comment