Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hello, My Name is Doris

On Sunday I saw Hello My Name is Doris, starring Sally Field and Max Greenfield.

Having a workplace crush is fantastic—you plan your outfits carefully, worry about your makeup and get excited when circumstance forces you into their presence. And you flirt. Shamelessly.

That's the predicament Doris (Field) finds herself in when new hire John (Greenfield) arrives in her office. Though they're both unmarried, there's a slight problem: they're about 30 years apart (Doris is older).

John accepts Doris's awkward advances with grace, as he's somewhat oblivious to her intentions and they soon become genuine friends. No matter how absurd her methods, Doris does succeed in getting close to him and his contemporaries. And it gives her a new lease on life, having just lost her mother and currently battling a serious case of hoarding.

Field is alternately hilarious and heartbreaking as the star character—and "character" is a good term for her. Doris makes unintentional fashion statements with her individuality. Doris does her job and she does it well; but at this point it's just habit. Doris doesn't mind riding the ferry to work every day. It takes her back to the house she grew up in, which is where she still resides. She's someone I could see myself being friends with (or turning into) later in life.

Greenfield is undeniably charming as the aloof object of affection. His kindness and gentle nature make it easy to see why any woman would be smitten. The fact he doesn't realize it makes him all that more appealing.

So, when all of these factors come into play, however unconventional it may seem, you can't help but root for a Doris & John happy ending. Maybe it could work? They could probably have a few good years? There's nothing wrong with an age difference as long as the chemistry is there, right?

I won't spoil the ending for you, but I will say it was both difficult to watch and ultimately satisfying. The attachment you'll have to Doris by the end will make you hurt when she hurts and rejoice when things go her way.

Only a good movie could do that.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

This morning I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman.

Michelle (Winstead) has decided to move on and sets out on the road with a bag of stuff that doesn't include her engagement ring. It's not clear where she's headed (except that she most likely won't be going back).

After a heart-stopping surprise event, she ends up in an underground bunker with Howard (Goodman), a doomsday conspiracy theorist who claims to be saving her from chemical warfare outside. But is he telling the truth? Or is he telling her what he believes to be true, but has little basis in reality?

Michelle soon learns she's not the only captive of Howard's, as Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) emerges from the next room. He's a decent guy, if not a bit simple, and soon becomes a strong ally for her.

What's great about this film is that just when you think it's going to get formulaic, the screenwriter turns everything upside down and changes your mind. Over and over again.

Michelle's quest to learn the truth gets her in trouble, but that doesn't slow her pursuit. She's always one step ahead of her captor, though he's bigger and stronger and perhaps psychotic. Not to get too feminist-y, but I found it incredibly refreshing that the girl was the smartest in the room. And she was the youngest of the bunch, too.

I can't tell you what transpires or who survives, but I can tell you that if you go to this movie, you'll be on the edge of your seat for the full 105 minutes. Enjoying the clever, well-acted, well-scripted thrill ride.