Film Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Directed by Ben Stiller

   Spoiler Alert!

Inspiring and beautiful are the words I would use to describe this film. I meant to write a review on its airing date, but I wanted to go see it again. Walter Mitty to his family and to his job, with little room to explore the world and try new things. He often escapes the monotony through the use of his imagination, and he daydreams the most exciting parts of his life.

I find myself relating and sympathizing with the character from the beginning. In fact, I would dare say many of us have felt dissatisfied with the monotony of life, which we usually beat with some sort of escapism (reading books, television, etc). The average person works long hours and has family depending on them financially. Things like travel, spending time with family, spontaneity, or even meditation become matters that depend on the expanse of the person’s finances. It shouldn’t be the case, but it’s a reality for many people. It’s not that we shouldn’t be grateful for what we have. It’s a matter of having or finding the time to enjoy the little things.

Life magazine is about to go paperless, and Mr. Mitty might be facing his last year as the Negative Manager of the company. Mitty must carry all financial responsibilities for his retired mother and for his sister. He’s discouraged from deviating from his normal routine, anything that is not considered financially safe. At least not until negative twenty-five disappears from his desk. Sean Penn plays an iconic photographer, and an admirer of Walter’s work at the magazine. He personally requests that Negative Twenty-five is used for the last paper issue of the magazine. It’s up to Walter to find out what happened the negative before he definitely finds himself without a job. The mystery of Negative Twenty-five takes him in a memorable, spiritual, and beautiful adventure.

There’s a great cast. Adam Scott plays Ted Hendricks, Mitty’s new self-absorbed and demeaning boss. I love him on Parks and Recreation, and it was interesting to see him play this role. Ben Stiller’s performance as Walter Mitty is fantastic and emotive. He put a lot of work into this film, and it shows. Kristen Wiig plays Cheryl Melhoff, a funny co-worker and mother of one. Walter wants to get to know her better since the day she started to work at the company, but doesn’t know how to introduce himself. Personally, I do wish she had a more complex and involved role. She was Mitty’s love interest, and a bit like the manic pixie dream figure. All the female characters in this film have important roles in Mitty’s life, but limited involvement. And to be fair, this is a man’s journey, so the lack of female representation is understandable. (The world needs more women in film. Women make wonderful films Hollywood!)

The film was well-directed, the cinematography is beautiful, and the story inspiring. Must reviewers have called this film “the best film to end the holiday season and begin a new year.” I completely agree, but I would also add that this film is more than a holiday film. I LOVE The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and I expect to see Ben at the Oscars (from home of course).

Thanks for reading. Go and enjoy this film.

Best,

Steph

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3 thoughts on “Film Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

  1. I can’t say it was a perfect movie, but it was an impressive one that has me interested in seeing what Stiller does next behind-the-camera. Nice review Steph.

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