The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

(2013)

Stop dreaming, start living.

Ben Stiller directs and stars as Walter Mitty - a LIFE magazine proofreader who, incapable of revealing his feelings to the woman he loves (Kristen Wiig) in the real world, retreats to a fantasy where he becomes his poised, confident opposite. When images from a fellow photographer (Sean Penn) go missing, Mitty’s mind takes him on a voyage to retrieve the negative, leading to a quest of self-discovery. The script is based on the 1939 short story by James Thurber, previously adapted for the screen in 1947.

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Flicks Review

Though his leading man status has gone from encouragingly superb to incorrigibly bland, Ben Stiller’s succinct filmography as a director carries a more respectable reputation (Tropic Thunder, Zoolander, Reality Bites). Putting himself once again in front of and behind the camera, this modern take on the 1947 daydreamer comedy is a totally fine, but heavily flawed, Stiller-helmed staple.... More

From the introduction to the titular office worker’s 9-to-5 life, the movie works profoundly on a visual level. Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh (who shot Kiwi classics The Piano and In My Father’s Den) captures the first act with a Wes Anderson-like eye, using symmetrical compositions fuelled by rigid right angles to emphasise the cog-turning functionality of Mitty’s daily world. While this depicts the lead character’s universe with its own unique, almost anthropological beauty (a point that becomes key later on), it simultaneously conveys the confinements of his daily life. Juxtaposed with the free-flowing scenes in Mitty’s wild imagination and his ‘real life’ overseas experiences, the film hits visual storytelling gold, with the camera seemingly exploring vast new movements as Walter explores vast new lands and cultures.

Unfortunately, the script can’t quite keep up with this cinematic display, resulting in a film that invigorates more than it cerebrally initiates. For a film that chooses to philosophise the ways to value our existence, it needs to nail both. Yet, when it’s time for Mitty to dispense his worldly knowledge onto the jerk who fired him, the only life lesson he can muster is “Yo, don’t be an asshole.” And the less said about Patton Oswalt’s irritatingly contrived character, the better.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 8 ratings, 7 reviews
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BY thorinoak superstar

The Forrest Gump of our generation. Outstanding in every way. Destined to be a cult classic.


BY Aardvark nobody

OK, maybe the story is a little mish-mashy; but this is TOTALLY compensated for by breathtaking cinematography, cool soundtrack, and more than a few belly laughs ("Don't play with the shark!!")


This film was disappointing with far fetched "dreams" and lacking any sensible story line.


BY jaynine superstar

It was quirky and dreamy. The film is beautiful on theatres and takes you to a surreal adventure. Ben Stiller was brilliant as Walter Mitty, very relateable to its audiences. I enjoyed the film, it was great.


BY Dan-Thompson superstar

I liked it. Great little story with smart lead performances. A good looking movie with a simple story that it tells well.


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The Press Reviews

50% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • It's too airless, too perfect, a dream of connection with humanity that flees contact with actual people. Full Review

  • Audiences willing to tune in to its blend of surreal fantasy, droll comedy and poignancy will be rewarded. Full Review

  • The film is at its best when played as goofy comedy ... The later, country-hopping scenes feel like flicking through an old copy of National Geographic. Full Review

  • Though Stiller has proven he can be much funnier ... the emotional dimension ultimately makes the film feel more substantial. Full Review

  • Seldom has a globe-spanning, soul-plumbing search for what really matters looked so inconsequential. Full Review

  • As a director, this feels like Stiller's moment. Mitty is a film that bravely rejects cynicism. In many ways, it's the new Forrest Gump. Go with it and it is, in all senses, wonderful. Full Review

  • Pretty much all the credit belongs to Stiller behind the camera, turning a sappy Hollywood button-pusher into a slick, smart-looking fantasy that doesn't mind showing its indie roots. Full Review

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