Reel Corner - May 2016

Sally Field—Star of the Month and “Hello, My Name is Doris”

by: Donna Paine

Sally Field—Star of the Month and “Hello, My Name is Doris”

Who could forget Sally Field’s 1984 Oscar acceptance speech when she won Best Actress for Places of the Heart and said: “You Like me; You really Like Me?” 

Born to a US Army Captain and a contract player for Paramount Pictures, Field got her start on television as the boy-crazy surfer girl in the sitcom Gidget (1965–66). Her big break was playing Sister Bratille in The Flying Nun. She went on to more formidable roles, which won her two Academy Award Best Actress awards and several Golden Globes.

Her role as “Doris” in Hello, My Name is Doris shows that her talent has endured the test of time.

Here are some Sally Field facts that might surprise you:

• Mentioned in the theme song of the 1980s television series The Fall Guy (1981).

• Protested urging the Mexican government to re-investigate the slaying of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juarez, on the Mexico-Texas border. [February 2004]

• Her Oscar-winning performance as Norma Rae Webster in Norma Rae (1979) was ranked #15 on the American Film Institute’s heroes list in their compilation of the 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.

• Has three films on the American Film Institute’s 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time. They are: Places in the Heart (1984) at #95, Forrest Gump (1994) at #37, and Norma Rae (1979) at #16.

• In Punchline (1988), she played Tom Hanks love interest. In Forrest Gump (1994), they played mother and son.

• The longest she has gone without an Oscar nomination is 28 years, between Places of the Heart (1984) and Lincoln (2012).

Hello, My Name is Doris 

There are not a lot of places for an actor to explore what it’s like to be a woman in their 60s.

In Hello, My Name Is Doris, which uses a funny, outwardly ridiculous character to tell a simple story about a love that rarely speaks its name, that of an older woman for a much younger man. These kinds of screen stories have always been few and far between, and given the prevailing cultural horror of aging, some of the more memorable ones turn on some sort of pathology, whether it’s the deranged actress in Sunset Boulevard or the traumatized boy-man in the cult film Harold and Maude. Doris has issues, mostly grief and social isolation, which Ms. Field makes movingly real with a performance that reveals its truth .

She meets a young man in a crowded elevator and with one small, human kindness he does something that astonishes Doris, something that doesn’t often happen to the world’s invisible women: He sees her.

Not that Doris, who’s in her 60s, tries to be invisible, exactly. From her cat-eye glasses to the bright headscarves that make her look put together from a second hand store, she seems like someone yearning to be seen. But wrinkles have a way of making women disappear one crease at a time, and Doris, who’s in mourning when the movie opens, has done her part to vanish. When the young man from the elevator —turns out to be a new co-worker, John (Max Greenfield, an effortless charmer)—notices Doris, and it changes everything. Doris is more than just surprised by his attention, she is also transformed. He makes her visible, most importantly to herself, a revelation that turns Doris into a woman who desires and is desired in turn. It’s a fierce awakening.

Donne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived round the corner from the Orson Wells Theater in Cambridge, Mass., where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. Supporter of the arts with a focus on films, Donne travels to film festivals and frequents Sundance. As a member of the original Second Sunday Film Society, she, along with a group of other film enthusiasts and Coligny Theater, are reviving the organization. To support her habit of frequent movie going, Donne is an executive recruiter and staff development consultant. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.