The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) movie review

By Max Maier | Apr 22, 2014

Ben Stiller is well known for his comedies. He has starred in hits like Dodgeball, Night at the Museum and Something About Mary, and many more. That's why when I saw the trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I was hesitant. I din't think he could play this supposed heartwarming character in this feel good movie. Plus, I didn't think it looked that great all around. Fortunately, I was 100% wrong.

The movie stars around Walter Mitty (played by Ben Stiller), a middle-aged man who often goes deep into his imagination, leading to him just standing around. He is a negative asset manager for Life magazine, which has recently been inquired and will be turned into an online website. For Life's final cover, they will use a picture taken by the famous freelance photographer, Sean O'Connell. Sean usually only speaks to Walter, because Walter is the only man who "properly represents his work", but this time has told the higher ups about the photo as well. The roll with this photo in it was sent to Mitty in his asset department, but this photo, numbered 25 is missing. So Mitty has to find Sean to figure out where the photo is. Also, Walter is trying to catch the attention of fellow co-worker, Cheryl Melhoff (played by Kristen Wiig.)

The rest of the story is about Walter finding Sean, and the life-changing journey he goes on. It is such a simple premise, but filled with great side characters, and a well paced tale that make for a wonderful experience. The characters are plentiful and great. Walter I such a lovable and nice guy, you can't help but root for him and want good things to happen to him, he is just a lovable main character. I was pleasantly surprised by Stiller's performance, it was very well done and he could play a serious character with a light heart. It is probably my favorite role he has ever played.

Wiig is also a great love interest for Walter. Cheryl is funny, charming and talented, and her and Walter have great chemistry on screen and their scenes together are a lot of fun to see. Sean Penn is also great as this almost underground legend, Sean O'Connell. He is so hard to find, which almost makes him legendary. The rest of the supporting cast is also great, all across the board: the drunk pilot, Walter's co-worker Hernando, the jerky boss Ted, all of them are great and there isn't a weak spot anywhere.

The only real problems with the story are minor, but worth noting. The theme of the story is Walter's life growing and him changing and becoming anther person through this journey filled with sudden changes and decisions. There are a couple of plot holes from it, involving transportation, but these are minor. The bigger point though, there is a reference to The Curious Life of Benjamin Button early in the movie. It is too weird and not funny, it's very awkward to see and takes a little too long, but it doesn't harm the movie necessarily, it's just off compared to the rest of the film.

The best part of this movie though, is the cinematography. This movie is beautifully shot. Camera angles are impressive, the scenery is just gorgeous and there are little unique touches that really the movie pop. It is possibly one of the more beautiful movies I've ever seen and should be viewed for the camera work and scenery alone.


Overall, I really, really love The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It is a light-hearted movie with humor, touching moments, great characters and a great adventure story that changes our main character almost entirely. It is a shame this movie didn't get more press or media exposure, because in my opinion, it is one of 2013's best movies. I recommend this movie to everyone, and I can't think of an audience that wouldn't like this movie. Go see it if you haven't already.


I give The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 4.5 daydreams out of 5




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