Sally Field has been a cinematic national treasure for decades, yet it’s been a good while since we’ve been treated to seeing her front and center. This weekend she returns to the leading lady slot with “Hello, My Name is Doris” and garners her customary accolades across the board (including a Rotten Tomatoes standing of 85% Critic/99% Audience as of this writing).
If you were born since 1975, however, it’s likely that others of Field’s triumphs slipped the radar, given that they hit the big screen while you were too young to see them, ran cable too young to appreciate them, and then swirled into the galaxy of TV channels and endless streaming content before you could notice.
If that’s the case, here are three that deserve placement on your watchlist post haste. All remain timeless and as relevant as they were at release, and will leave an indelible positive imprint on your soul.
Time to fire up the queue!
“Hello, My Name is Doris” is currently in theaters; check IMDb or your local listings for showtimes. The titles below are currently available via Amazon and Netflix; check your preferred channel (Redbox, etc.) for additional options.
Though Field had long since become a fixture of pop culture and beloved in our hearts, this was the one that landed her first Oscar nomination and win. Here Field employs her surprising-spitfire vibe to maximum effect, portraying the real-life Crystal Lee Sutton with a delicate ferocity that is, as Liebman’s character observes, nothing short of sumptuous.
Watch this one for courage.
Starring: Sally Field, Ron Leibman, Beau Bridges, Pat Hingle, Gail Strickland, Grace Zabriskie, Bob Minor
Directed by: Martin Ritt
Story: (Drama) Fact-based story of a single mother and textile worker who glimpses a better life when a union organizer arrives in town, and joins the fight for it.
5/5 Stars | Rated PG | 114 min. | Themes: Fairness, Grit, Justice, Self-Care, Self-Respect, Social Concern and Change, Teamwork, Willingness
“Places in the Heart”
It’s the tragically and suddenly widowed Edna Spalding who earned Field’s second Oscar nomination and win (sparking the “you like me” meme that endures to this day in an acceptance speech that wasn’t nearly as goofy as seems). Here Field’s delicacy serves as the secret weapon, as those who imagined they could muscle Edna to their own advantage found out, to their great chagrin.
Watch this one for hope.
Starring: Sally Field, Danny Glover, John Malkovich, Amy Madigan, Ed Harris, Lindsay Crouse, Terry O’Quinn
Directed by: Robert Benton
Story: (Drama) A Depression-era widowed mother bands together with two unlikely and unexpected companions to carry out a plan that will save her home and provide for them all.
5/5 Stars | Rated PG | 111 min. | Themes: Assertiveness, Awe, Endurance, Fear, Flexibility, Forgiveness, Friendship, Grit, Legacy, Loss, Perseverance, Prejudice, Resilience, Teamwork, Willingness
Sometimes the best things in life take you by surprise. Here we have one of those quiet near-sleepers that you can easily overlook, but once seen, melts your heart a little every time you think of it thereafter. Field’s winsome charm and Garner’s wry groundedness pair like peanut butter and chocolate, earning both Golden Globe nominations, with Garner receiving an Oscar nom as well (and demonstrating again why there should be an Oscar for casting, but that’s a subject for another day).
Watch this one for love.
Starring: Sally Field, James Garner, Brian Kerwin, Corey Haim
Directed by: Martin Ritt
Story: (Comedy, Drama, Romance) A broke and divorced single mother moves to a small southwestern town in an attempt to start over, finding an unlikely ally in the laid-back local pharmacist.
5/5 Stars | Rated PG-13 | 107 min. | Themes: Friendship, Happiness, Perspective, Resilience, Youth and Age, Zest