Friday, 6 May 2016

REVIEW - HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS (MICHAEL SHOWALTER)


Hello, My Name Is Doris communicates ideas we understand in a language to which we've become well accustomed as moviegoers. So what makes it feel so refreshing? Insight and precision, combined with a mildly alternative perspective, give this indie comedy a shot in the arm, filling it out with development of character and scenario alike that's as advantageous to the narrative as it is to the comedy. Michael Showalter fondly engages in hipster dialect and culture, whilst satirising it with awareness and exactitude (qualities which many satirists overlook and replace with bile), never resorting to cheap nastiness. This is crucial, since it's directly connected to the film's presentation of its central figure, Sally Field's office worker Doris. Between Field's heartwarming, hilarious performance, and a thorough and sympathetic comprehension of her character, Hello, My Name Is Doris manages to work as a charming character study, an affable comedy, and a piquant manifesto against ageism. Its positive attributes are multitudinous, then, but only within the inherently underwhelming frame of the conventional, indeed downright stereotypical indie blueprint which Showalter adheres to all too readily. He's smart and talented, and could push himself further in this regard - shot compositions are plain, editing is unremarkable, soundtrack is lazily pretty and twinkly in that offensive way. There's a better movie beneath these stylistic trappings, one which showcases the abilities of an older female actor without condescension or excessive cliche. That's what makes Hello, My Name Is Doris, in spite of itself, so refreshing.