I've never been a big fan of Sally Field. It's probably a combination of those bad award speeches and her tendency to play to the back row, but I've never quite understood her longevity.
I drove everybody nuts with my bitching about her horrible performance in "Lincoln" as Mary Todd.
So it's all the more surprising just how GREAT I think she is in her latest film, HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS.
Field plays a quiet, awkward sixty-something office worker with a penchant for junk she thinks are antiques and a vivid imagination with which she imagines herself "Walter Mitty"-like in what her life would be like is she wasn't so introverted.
When Doris meets a new young office boss named John (perfectly played by Max Greenfield of "New Girl" fame) she finds herself drawn to him romantically.
While her close friend Roz (Tyne Daly) and her son and daughter in law push her to stay home and stick with her routine, Doris finds herself venturing out of her comfort zone to try and make her fantasy romance real.
Greenfield is hilarious on "New Girl" and while he's funny here, he also shows a lot of dramatic depth as John, who really learns to value Doris' friendship while never suspecting her wish for something more.
The screenplay by newcomers Laura Terruso and Michael Showalter is really well crafted.
The previews do the film an injustice by teeing you up for a wacky romantic May-December romance comedy, but there's so much more to the story than the comedy.
Field fleshes Doris out into a real person, digging behind the slightly off-kilter surface to reveal a Doris with strong emotions, serious issues and an all too human desire to be loved.
She is terrific here. When Doris's repressed emotions come to the surface, it never feels staged or manipulative. It's as if you are peeking into Doris' life in those moments. Field will break your heart.
Or will she?
Half the fun of this small and crafty film is NOT knowing where it's headed. You haven't seen the character before and have no idea where she's going. Neither does Doris.
And that unpredictability alone would get the film high marks. Throw in Field and Greenfield and you get an A.
Look this one up. Like Doris, it's a very quirky winner with a heart.