The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013 Film) | Movie Review

By: Cynthia A.

Directed By: Ben Stiller

Screenplay by: Steve Conrad

Based on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber

Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn & Sean Penn

Walter Mitty is a negative assets manager (photographs) at Life magazine who frequently daydreams of fantastic adventures, and has a crush on his coworker Cheryl. Photojournalist Sean O’Connell, who works closely with Mitty concerning his submissions, has sent him a package containing his latest negatives and a wallet as a gift in appreciation of Mitty’s excellent work. Furthermore, that package contains a special photograph, negative 25, that he says in writing captures the “Quintessence” of Life and that it should be used for the cover of the magazine’s final print issue as it converts to online status. Unfortunately, that specific negative is missing from the package and Mitty is forced to stall the obnoxious corporate transition manager Ted Hendricks handling the downsizing. Using the other negatives as clues, Mitty searches for O’Connell, a journey that leads him to be true to himself and allow him to live the life of an adventure outside his wildest daydreams.

Wow.  Ben Stiller was brilliant in this movie, not only proving himself as an actor but also as a director.  Stepping away from this comedic roots to attach and ground himself in something more substantial, he was able to combine comedy and drama into this movie effortlessly, showcasing the growth of his character and capturing all his doubts, dreams and strengths in one combined motion.

The movie is about Mitty who is a man who lives in his head, day by day, daydreaming about the extraordinary rather than do extraordinary things, or even anything.  He is so fixated on being the responsible man who keeps to himself that he isn’t living.  But then he takes the leap, literally, and goes on this extraordinary journey.  It’s a message for all of us to step out of our heads and to take a risk once in a while, to take a leap of faith and live our lives instead of just dreaming of living.  It blended reality and fiction together and was heartwarming, hilarious and the acting was truly phenomenal.

Ben Stiller should be applauded for his outstanding performance and directing ability.  He was able to get at the heart of the movie, at the heart of the meaning behind the movie, captivating audiences and giving the comedic breaks in the movie a substantial tone that would reach more audiences.  As stated above, Be Stiller really proved himself as a director and an actor.  Of course, the rest of the cast was amazing.  Each of them really brought this movie to life, giving viewers real life characters stuck in a very real situation, showing how each of them prevail, how each of them survive and live.

But beyond all that, the message behind the movie, to live your lives and look inside for who you really are and be true to that person.  ★★★★ (A+)

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