A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hello, My Name Is Doris is a dramedy starring Sally Field as a quirky 60-something New Yorker who falls for a coworker half her age (Max Greenfield). Although sexual content doesn't include much more than kissing (both in Doris' daydreams and seen around her), there's a lot of strong language (especially "f--k," "f--king," and "s--t") and some mature themes related to May-December romances, cyberstalking (Doris creates a fake Facebook account to follow and friend her crush), hoarding, grief, and unhealthy family dynamics. That said, the movie does depict the way intergenerational bonds form and how some friendships can transcend age.
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What's the story?
HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS opens with the funeral for the mother of single 60-something Doris (Sally Field) and her married brother, Todd (Stephen Root). Todd's wife, Cynthia (Wendi McLendon-Covey), immediately starts to pressure Doris about moving out of their hoarder mother's Staten Island home, selling the house, and taking advantage of the opportunity to move to New York, but Doris is resistant. Then she has a meet-cute with an attractive younger man on an elevator. She immediately daydreams about him and even steals the pencil peeking out of his backpack. It turns out the man is John (Max Greenfield), the new creative director at the apparel company where Doris is an accountant. Prompted by a motivational speaker (Peter Gallagher) to think that nothing is impossible, Doris begins a single-minded quest to start a relationship with John, a task for which she enlists the 13-year-old granddaughter of her widowed best friend, Roz (Tyne Daly), who helps Doris start a fake Facebook account to stalk John and discover his interests.
Is it any good?
Field is a dream in this tender-hearted dramedy about a lonely 60-something woman with a fierce sense of style but no sense of how to start a relationship with a man half her age. As the quirky titular character, Field is in basically every scene of the film, and she's utterly riveting as a (to quote another character) "weird, but in a good way" Staten Islander who has a couple of lifelong friends but is otherwise rootless after the death of her mentally ill mother. From her love of romance novels and the wistful way she stares at real-life couples, it's obvious that Doris longs for love -- something her character has missed out on for nearly all of her adult life. New Girl star Greenfield is perfectly cast as John, the object of her affection and attention. He's got the kind of sparkly smile and bedroom eyes necessary to make Doris swoon, but he's also not so beautiful that he seems unapproachable.
Directed by Michael Showalter, the movie explores why Doris, with her cat's-eye glasses and '50s outfits, is an ideal match for the kind of young Brooklyn hipsters who make their living creating artisanal fare and working in an LGBT preschool. Yes, the hipster cliches are stereotypical, but they're still funny. The story is full of sweet sequences that beautifully depict how Doris' girlish enthusiasm for John brings her out of her shell, even though the situation begins to seriously concern Roz (Daly also gives a wonderful performance). One particularly effective scene takes place at a concert that could be straight out of HBO's Girls. John's favorite electropop artist is playing, so Doris shows up. Dressed in all neon, she ends up delighting the Millennials with her "fierce" outfit and age-defying (if feigned...) love of a group that caters to the under-30 crowd. Field, who's 69, is luminous as Doris, proving that a tremendous actress can shine at any age if given the opportunity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the amount of strong language in Hello, My Name Is Doris. Is it necessary? Does it make the movie inappropriate for slightly younger teens? Why or why not?
What makes Doris' online behavior related to her crush inappropriate? What do kids need to know about being safe online?
Do you consider any of the characters role models? If so, who, and why?
How does the movie portray intergenerational relationships/friendships? Can 20-somethings and 60-somethings be true friends? Is the way Doris befriends the younger characters believable?
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