Glasgow Film Festival Review – Hello My Name Is Doris (2015)


This is the new film by Michael Showalter, one half of the writing duo who brought us last year’s They Came Together, Wet Hot American Summer and the forthcoming highly anticipated Netflix series. This is the second film he directed after 2005’s The Baxter.

Hello My Name is Doris thrusts lonely Doris (Sally Field; Forrest Gump, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde) into a world of electronica gigs and Brooklyn roof top knitting circles all in the romantic pursuit of a younger golden boy coworker (Max Greenfield; Veronica Mars, New Girl) who works at the same hip Brooklyn clothing company.

With the help of her friend’s teenage daughter Doris creates a fake Facebook account to learn more about her beau. Through this she is able to pretend prior knowledge of hip electro artist Baby Goya (Jack Antonoff of the band Bleachers and famously Lena Dunham’s boyfriend), and meet with her man on his own turf.

Of course Doris gets singled out by Baby Goya for her “unique” style and is soon the toast of Brooklyn. Her living in Staten Island is considered so “first wave” by the hipsters she meets, who have such ridiculous jobs as being teachers in gay preschools. And they all love her style which includes garish sweaters and day glow jumpsuits (I have to admit I had my eye on a couple of her jumpers!). The film eventually comes to a head as Doris is unable to curtail her romantic intentions.

Sally Field is sensational in the film and is such a joy to watch. In the Q&A after the screening, it was very apparent that she was so excited for the opportunity to play this role. With predominantly being offered the grandma roles, it’s so great to see her being able to play a character with so many facets. Max Greenfield is so good at playing it straight against Fields as he gentlemanly deflects Doris’ advances.

Throughout the film there’s a lot of hilarious scenes of cringe comedy between the two characters. One particularly scene stands out involving a deflated posture ball, which will have you grimacing behind your hands. However, as well as the well placed humour, the film also has real sadness and heart as we see Doris deal with her own emotional baggage and loneliness.

Not surprising with the insane casts in They Came Together and Wet Hot American Summer, the film is filled with comedic talent. There is a spot on appearance from Sandy Cohen himself Peter Gallagher (The O.C, Togetherness) as a motivational speaker and Doris’s work colleagues include Natasha Lyonne (Orange is The New Black, But I’m A Cheer Leader), Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, Hot Tub Time Machine 2) and Rich Sommer (Celeste & Jesse Forever, Mad Men).

There’s been a bunch of films in recent years which have attacked the hipster genre for source material. But what sets this film apart is the genuine character in the middle of it.   There is pure silliness, but really heart and emotion. A hilarious, cringeworthy and moving comedy with a stella performance from Sally Field.

[rating=5] |Alice Hubley

Comedy, Drama | USA, 2015 | 15 | Glasgow Film Festival | Sony Pictures/Park Circus | Dir: Michael Showalter | Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Natasha Lyonne, Jack Antonoff

This is a repost of Alice Hubley’s SXSW 2015 Festival review