FilmReview

Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a Visually-Stunning, Feel-Good Film

Kristina Carroll ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor

Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Photo Credit: Wilson Webb / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Photo Credit: Wilson Webb / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

A thrilling global adventure mixed with breathtaking visuals, comedic moments, and heartwarming romance, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has a little bit of everything.  Ben Stiller both directs and stars as the protagonist of the film, the constant daydreamer Walter Mitty whose life is everything but impressive.  His dull life, however, is turned upside down when all of a sudden his job (along with those of several other coworkers) is at risk of being taken away.

Mitty works as an employee for Life Magazine, which is ceasing its publication and laying off most of its workers, including the beautiful Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig), whom Mitty has fallen for.  Mitty, who is usually very diligent when it comes to his job, goes into a state of panic when he discovers that the photo that was supposed to be printed on the cover of the magazine’s final issue is nowhere to be found.  His only way of solving the problem is to track down the famous photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) himself. However, this is much easier said than done.  Sean travels all over the globe without a cell phone or any other mode of communication, and Mitty himself has never met the man in all 16 years that they have been working together.

Ben Stiller and Kristin Wiig in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Photo Credit: Wilson Webb / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Photo Credit: Wilson Webb / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Walter’s search for Sean takes him to Greenland and Iceland, where he befriends a drunk man (whose ring gives him a huge lead into Sean’s whereabouts), jumps off of a helicopter into the ocean and then almost gets consumed by a shark, and barely escapes an erupting volcano.  His life suddenly becomes so exhilarating that he no longer needs to zone out and imagine himself doing more exciting things.  And just when he thinks he’s hit a dead end in his search, he realizes that what he’s been looking for has been in his possession all along.

Although this is a heartwarming movie, those expecting a typical Ben Stiller film may be disappointed.  While his comedic personality is definitely showcased several times throughout the film (there is a hilarious scene that calls out the absurdity of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that had the audience laughing hysterically), he is much more toned down than usual.

Ben Stiller and Kristin Wiig in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Photo Credit: Wilson Webb / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Photo Credit: Wilson Webb / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Another complaint that Walter Mitty might receive is that it gets a little slow, and sometimes slightly boring, at times.  The visuals are absolutely stunning, and those alone do a great job of captivating the audience throughout the majority of the movie, but there are some scenes that go on far too long and lack excitement.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a feel good movie that makes you appreciate the little things in life.  It has some important life lessons integrated into its plot, and definitely has a happily-ever-after ending.  There is something in it for everybody, and it is a great family-friendly film to check out this holiday season.

Overall Grade: B+

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