The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Review


The official movie poster of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty reminded me of the bigger world outside of our cozy homes. Stiller takes you on an inspiring journey through the main character, Walter, who changes from a conservative, closed minded, working man to a courageous hero.  Walter’s journey gave me a shot of happiness and exhilarating energy that I have never experienced for a movie.  The film makes you want to leave everything behind, jump onto a helicopter with Walter, and fly all the way to Greenland.

This is the second remake of the original film directed by James Thurber in 1939.

Walter Mitty is an awkward and reserved negative assets manager who has worked at Life Time Magazine for 20 years.  The only exciting parts of Walter’s day are his day dreams about heroic things he wishes he could do to impress his co worker Cheryl (Kristen Wiig).  These scenes of day dreaming are crazy and outlandish ranging from saving Cheryl’s cat from an explosion to fighting as a superhero against the mean corporate transition manager of Life Time, Ted (Adam Scott).  It is as if Walter lives two lives: one boring life in reality where he sits at his desk and works all day and an action packed life that lets him become adventurous characters in his vivid imagination. One day at work Walter is sent a parcel of negatives from Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) who is a photojournalist that has worked with Walter for several years.  Unfortunately the parcel is missing the photograph that was meant to be on the front page of the latest issue.  After looking through all the negatives in the parcel, Walter concludes that Sean was in Greenland when taking the photos and sets on a journey to find him.

The only noteworthy characters in the film were Walter and Ted.  Stiller was very powerful in his role as Walter because the viewer was able to emotionally connect with him and relate to his struggles.  Ted who was brilliantly played by Adam Scott made me want to jump into the movie and slap him in the face when Walter wouldn’t.  I believe that great characters convince us to believe that they are evil, sad, heroic or happy.  Having said that, I found the rest of the cast, particularly Kristin Wiig’s portrayal of Cheryl, to be weak.  They didn’t have a great deal of depth or emotion but I suppose the director wanted to focus mainly on Walter’s character and how everything revolves around him.

The plot of the film was interesting because Walter goes through many obstacles, tries new things and meets new people.  These experiences gradually change him into a different person and he becomes more cultured.  This relates to life in general and how if we are exposed to new things or environments it changes us and ultimately enriches our mind. One scene that I loved was when Walter was long boarding down the mountain in Iceland.  As Walter races down the mountain we see that for the first time in the whole film he is having fun and is very happy.  This scene also shows the natural beauty and green scenery in Iceland.  It was as if every scene of nature was out of National Geographic magazine.  My favourite part of the film was watching Walter play soccer with the tribes in the Himalayas.  He looked so carefree in the beautiful sun light that it made me want to go out and do the same.  In fact, most of Walter’s experiences looked so enjoyable. Ben Stiller did a stellar job in portraying Walter as his awkwardness had me laughing at times.  I felt that the ending was very good because things start to work out for Walter and a certain surprise awaits him.

What’s more is the amazing soundtrack and breath taking cinematography that captivates you.  The soundtrack really set the mood of the film from indie artists such as Of Monsters and Men and Jose Gonzalez.

The message that the movie conveyed was that you should go out and explore and see the beautiful things the world has to offer. I thought that this message helped me connect to the movie as I love travelling. The common themes in this movie are adventure, discovery and courage.  At the end of the film we see that Walter becomes the man that he wishes he was when he day dreams.  When he comes back from his journey he changes and becomes more relaxed with a scruffy beard and wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  Stiller does a fabulous job of mixing intense action with touches of comedy and romance into one masterpiece. All these factors contributed into making a complete and fun film.