The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Do you ever find yourself zoning out in class, at work, or at some event? Rather than paying attention to whatever is boring you, your mind wanders and takes you places that aren’t possible. You can be anyone you want and you can do anything that you can think of. These little daydreams are what get us through our routine and bring lives and without them, we’d just go on like drones and leave our imagination behind. Always remember that dreams are important, but it’s more important to go out and live your adventure. You’re the only one who can control your life, so why not make it an exciting one?

Walter slowly slips into another daydream.
Walter slowly slips into another daydream.

For the last 16 years, Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) has worked at LIFE Magazine. He works in the negative assets department and resides in a dark room with just one other person. As he handles the photos that Photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) sends him, Walter’s mind wanders and he finds himself inside another daydream. These daydreams are a standard part of Walter’s day and more often than not, they revolve around Walter making a good first impression on LIFE’s newest employee, Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig). Things seem to being going alright for Walter, until a man named Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott) comes in and lets everyone know that LIFE Magazine will be making the switch to the web and only essential employees will be staying with the company. For the last issue, Walter was entrusted with Negative 25, which O’Connell claimed “captured the Quintessence of LIFE Magazine”.  The only problem, is Walter can’t find Negative 25 anywhere.

As he frantically searches for the photo, Walter endures the mean words of Hendricks and thinks of ways to buy himself time. Every other photo arrived, so perhaps O’Connell still has the photo on him. Reluctant to go track O’Connell down, Walter thinks its best to give up, until he spends time with Cheryl, who happens to like an adventurous man. With that in mind, Walter decides to stop dreaming and start living, as he tries to track down O’Connell before it’s too late. Due to the nature of O’Connell’s work, Walter will find himself scaling mountains, braving icy waters, and even finding new ways to get around.The last printed issue lies on Walter’s back and he’s just the man to save the day. That is, if he can distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t.

Sean O'Connell almost beckons for Walter to come on a journey,
Sean O’Connell almost beckons for Walter to come on a journey,

Never let your ambitions waiver and never stop dreaming. Capture the beauty around you and love everything to the best of your ability. Never fear the world around you, tackle things headfirst with high hopes and venture off into the unknown with a free mind. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty taught me to do all that and so much more. Everyone daydreams, so this is a film that’s going to connect with everyone. The odd nature of the daydreams is relatable and we all know too well, that if you don’t live every now and again, you’ll be stuck in the same boring place for too long. I left this film feeling amazing and I had the biggest smile on my face. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the feel good film of the year, but it has much more than that to it.

Ben Stiller, yet again, proves that he can act and direct superbly. As the titular Walter Mitty, Stiller connects to the audience in through his daydreaming and awkward tendencies. So often, we get stuck in our boring lives and forget that there’s a great big world or there that’s full of surprises and opportunities. Despite the office introvert trope, it’s really funny to watch Walter try to flirt and fail miserably. It’s after he really puts himself out there, that he sees results. Stiller has this innocence around his character and you can’t help but like him. He takes care of the ones he loves and he’s good to those who are good to him. Watching him embark on his journey is hilarious and at times, even heartwarming. He’s truly the people’s person and I’d like to think that’s a very good thing.

Walter and Cheryl share a laugh outdoors.
Walter and Cheryl share a laugh outdoors.

Although their roles are smaller, Sean Penn and Kristen Wiig both serve large purposes. Penn’s character represents everything that we all wish we could be. He spends his life traveling the world and photographing the most beautiful locations. He lives a carefree life and doesn’t have to daydream, because he lives adventurously. His influence on Walter and audience members is certainly a positive one and if we want to live like he does, then we have to just go and do so. Wiig’s character also serves as a motivation for Walter, as she’s the love interest. We all want to impress someone, so what better way than proving that you know how to live life to the fullest? Her fun and cute character will charm you and she’s a joy to watch.

One of the greatest things about this film, aside from its message, is the visual aspect of it. The cinematography is breathtaking and you’ll be drooling as the film goes on. Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh does a wonderful job of making you wish that you could venture with Walter throughout the mountains. The visual effects also impress, as each daydream sequence looks better than the one before it. Yes they’re absurd, but aren’t dreams supposed to be? Every type of dream is shown and it’s a lot of fun to see how each is stylized. This film looks beautiful and that only adds to the overall feel of everything.

Walter is on his own adventure in the mountains.
Walter is on his own adventure in the mountains.

If ever this film starts to slow, it’s in moments that seem like they don’t necessarily belong. There’s a lot about E-Harmony in the film that seems very out-of-place. Amid all the adventure, the E-Harmony bit pops up unexpectedly and takes you out of the story for a moment. However, the conversations between Walter and the E-Harmony Operator, voiced by Patton Oswald are pretty funny. Shirley Maclain and Kathryn Hahn play Walter’s mother and sister and they’re hardly featured in the film at all. Both have their own little quirks and add to Walter’s life a bit, but aren’t around long enough to reach their full potential in the film. I did want to see more from them, but then again, the film is about Walter and his journey. Other than these minor complaints, this film is really quite something.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty made me feel something that most films don’t. I wanted to stay in my seat and wait for the film to start over. This film really got to me and I can’t wait to go see it again. It’s the kind of film that will pick your spirits up and send you off in the right direction. Ben Stiller is one heck of a guy and he can transform his appearance and talent, with the wave of a hand. He’s succeeded with his precious project and it’s going to be a film that will captivate audience everywhere. It’ll be hard to find someone who doesn’t enjoy this film, but if they don’t, it’s probably because they haven’t started living yet.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGWO2w0H2V8

4.5 STARS!!!

4.5 / 5 stars     

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