Hello My Name is Doris is a pleasant surprise: a satisfying satire of today’s youth thinly veiled as a geriatric rom-com. I initially decided to watch the film as I was in the mood for something light and bubbly, and adore Sally Field. Field, in the role of Doris, shines. Her character is multidimensional and fleshed out guaranteeing the viewer truly wants good things to happen to her. After her live-in mother’s death, she is left to pick up the pieces and examine her life and single lady status. What happens is absolutely delightful: she falls hopelessly in love with a man thirty years her younger (played by Max Greenfield, most notably from New Girl). Soon she is accepted into his very hipster fold, and this is where the fun really starts. Instead of the usual formulaic unrequited love film, viewers are treated to a bold examination of the hipster lifestyle. Doris goes with the flow, elated that she has found some new young friends, and suddenly her routine, rut filled life is ripe with possibility. But the question isn’t if she gets the boy in the end, but rather, does these friends truly see her as an equal? Or an ironic footnote to their tragically hip existence? I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout the film. Especially at the fictional indie electropop band Baby Goya and the Nuclear Winters. Yep. You read that right. See this film and delight in the meta humor, and a story around a character that is lovable and deserves great things. I heartily recommend.
Sometimes the darkest stories lend the most hope. Wildlike from indie director Frank Hall Green is a sleepy study of Mackenzie, a young abused teenager on the run (played by Ella Purnell) after her trust is heart breakingly betrayed. She finds hope in an unlikely middle aged man (Bruce Greenwood, from Star Trek) in the Alaskan wilderness and they make a human connection they both desperately need. The subject matter is heavy and uncomfortable, but it is done with grace. Green does a lot with a small budget – and the result is a polished film. The breathtaking scenery is the perfect backdrop to the film – adding a balance of beauty to the ugly reality of Mackenzie’s life. The pace is slow but not too slow burning- just enough to let the plot unravel slowly and quicken at the denouement. This technique lends the ending gravity and depth.The acting is excellent – Purnell conveys so much emotion through her large, expressive eyes – often without saying a word. She is excellent in this role, and Greenwood compliments her with his veteran experience. Don’t let the subject matter dissuade you – Wildlike is a beautiful film which captures both the fragility and toughness of nature – and the human spirit. I heartily recommend.