Friday, December 27, 2013
Movie review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty can be thrilling
It's also a little depressing to watch him live out his dreams.
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a mild-mannered, simple man who has been doing the same job at Life Magazine for 16 years. He spends most of his time doing his work but he is often caught far away, daydreaming. In his day dreams, he does all the things he wishes he could do in real life. His dreams become reality, however, when the negative for the final cover for Life Magazine goes missing. It’s up to Walter to retrieve it, or there will be no cover.
To recover it, he must seek out the photographer who took it, the elusive Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). He is motivated by his mother (Shirley MacClaine); a woman he secretly loves, Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig); and the strange yet persistent Todd Maher (Patton Oswalt), who works for the online dating site Walter is a member of. In the end, Walter must learn to live and not just day dream.
RATING7/10 stars – You will root for Walter Mitty, but then you will just be depressed because you aren’t living out your dreams like him.
The movie also stars Jon Daly, Kathryn Hahn, Terence Bernie Hines, Adam Scott, Paul Fitzgerald, Grace Rex, Alex Anfanger, Adrian Martinez, Gary Wilmes, Marcus Antturi, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Þórhallur Sigurðsson and Ari Matthíasson.
Directed by Ben Stiller, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is based on the story by James Thurber. The movie is a sweet, touching film that speaks to the daydreaming in all of us, reminding us that while dreaming is great, you also have to live in the moment or life will just pass you by. I have not read the story by Thurber, but based on what I do know, I don’t think the movie is much like the story. If you have read the story, be prepared for something different.
If you put the story it’s based on aside, the movie shows promise. Stiller does a great job of making me feel for Walter. Everyone picks on him for his wandering mind, and so when he finally starts living instead of just dreaming I was excited for him. I was living his dreams with him, and sometimes it was quite thrilling. The parts in between the dream living, the mundane life and story-driving elements, brought the film down.
I think this film ends up being a bit more fluff than substance, which is sad because it could have had a substantial message. The message is there but I fear most people will miss it behind the shiny and "Hollywood" aspects of the film. Plus, while living out Mitty’s dreams is great, it was hard for me, because like so many characters in films, he is another that does things I probably would never do. So despite the message to live life and our dreams, I am still living dreams through the movie. A bit ironic if you think about it.
Ultimately though, Stiller brings the audience a feel-good, light-hearted and sweet film that fits its Christmas release rather well -- especially compared to the other films out this holiday.
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