A self-help seminar inspires a sixty-something woman to romantically pursue her younger co-worker.
Directed by Michael Showalter
Starring Sally Field, Max Greenfield
Sally Field may not work that much anymore, but she sure knows what she likes to do. The last few years have consisted, maybe inexplicably, of a couple of stints in the Spiderman reboots and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Not a lot of output for four years, but nonetheless, her performances are never less than brimming with a natural ease that confirm her status as one of Hollywood’s most enduring talents.
At first glance, you might immediately imagine that Field, playing the titular Doris, is a step out of time with a movie that maybe feels too contemporary and too independent for a shuffling cat-lover that lives with her mother in an ever-descending garage sale of junk that her family want her to be rid of, not only for her own good after the death of said parent, but for their own good too.
Field, however, brings a delightful turn to this woman forgotten as nothing more than a data-inputter kept on at work due to the need for good branding and familiar continuance. She brings Doris to life with a sometimes verve that should remind us all that just because age may have crept up on them, there is still effervescent life in the older folks if they’re given the opportunity to run vicariously in the park. Field exemplifies the more senior performer perfectly here, as if made for the role that she could only really play right this minute.
When Doris falls for a much younger work colleague, she begins to imagine that he feels the same and through a series of half-chances and happenstance, the opportunity for a relationship does blossom, but not maybe in quite the way that Doris would like.
What was most surprising was the decision from Showalter (also partly responsible for the truly lovely script) to suggest that this woman, despite really living a dream in which she was the star, to make the audience believe that this nearly romance was something that could possibly occur. Performances from both Field and Greenfield were convincing enough, despite societal norms, to have us all wondering maybe, just maybe, at times.
And despite this seemingly ridiculous notion, the project must be applauded for legitimately suggesting it was possible and backing that up with the quality storytelling to quell the doubters. We are all quite used to seeing young women playing the love interest to older men, but this idea upturned is rarely and approached, and even fewer succeed in achieving something as sweet and yet tinged with melancholy and moments of genuine tragedy as Doris is put through the gamut of emotions that love inflicts upon all of us.
In short, a simple, beautifully told tale of love and opportunity. Doris’ character arc is delightful to witness and this should prove that if nothing else, that it is never too late to dream. Showalter’s direction is sound and the writing should be commended as much as Field’s ability to deliver such a convincing performance. Recommended.
Three hearty cheers for Tyne Daly. Why she doesn’t do more work these days is beyond me.