Exclusive Review: The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller stars (and directs) as the main character Walter Mitty, a normal working man who day-dreams – zones out – and can escape his anonymous life and be whoever he wants to be – a hero, romantic lover, an action man – anything. However, when his job is in threat, as the Life Magazine is changing to Life Online where people will be sacked, he realises that he is missing the negative by Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) – a famous photographer – which is to be the last magazine cover for Life. In a turn of events Mitty with his out-of-this-world imagination take off to find O’Connell and find the negative (photo).

I hate saying this but I need to say this first; you’ll either love it or hate it. Don’t expect that just because it is directed and has Ben Stiller in the film, that it will be hilarious because it isn’t. There are laughing moments, little jokes but it’s not set out of be a comedy. The film is about how a normal everyday city man, who sadly happens to not have many friends and likes to zone out, is able to say he has done something out of the ordinary and basically has a life. When seeing the trailer before, you’ll think it is going to be like The Tree of Life, which funnily enough also starred Sean Penn, an amazing film that has epically fantastic cinematography but not a very interesting storyline. However this film still has the amazing cinematography, from the city buildings to the beautiful clips of the natural scenery of Greenland, Iceland and the Himalayas, and even better it has a great storyline, basic yes but still great because of the content. There are even jokes about other films.

Being honest, the film doesn’t feel like it kicks in, despite the zoning out, until Mitty finds that the negative, which O’Connell calls the photo his best ever, goes missing but perfectly right for us to feel like that because that is when Walter Mitty’s life turns and becomes an adventure; we too go on the life-changing experience. During the film, you are wondering many things, such as will Mitty find O’Connell, where is Mitty off to next but the most important one is what is the photo of? I had an idea, which after Mitty found something out just after halfway through the film, I realised what the photo will be of, though the how the photo was taken I did not think of. But that and how incredible the long distance calls are (shame it’s not in the real world) doesn’t spoil the film because like I said before it’s about the journey of Mitty that is important.

I loved the plot to the story, especially the skateboard down the hill part – not the same as the 1939 short-story by James Thurber it was based on – and I loved where it took Walter Mitty and what he had to achieve and overcome sometimes to get what he needs. There is a little annoyance that there was a montage of him trekking the mountains when really it should have been a shorter montage and a scene or two of him coping the trek. However, I love films where the main character tries to discover themselves, such as a coming-of-age though slightly different. The musical score for the film is incredible and I love the main track of the film Step Out by José González. As said before the cinematography is fantastic and the cast is great. This is a film where Ben Stiller isn’t all about being funny, the film shows that he is a genuine actor. 

The film is very moving because we all wish that we can just leave our work and out ordinary lives and just travel the world and coincidentally find out who we are at the same time and yet here that is what Walter Mitty does. He believes he must find O’Connell to get the negative for the magazine and along the way he becomes a better person and, well no pun intended, has a life. To explain how moving it was I saw the film with two of my friends and one of them, bless them, I saw at the end was crying. It turns out she was crying since the scene where Walter Mitty gets the bicycle; that was in the first third of film. That long crying shows how connectable and moving the film is. It’s not for everyone but hey, every film is like that. See it because it’s the amazing journey of life in the real world we all want.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: 8.4/10

Highlight of the Day: Watching the film and also my friends supporting me with my essay – I had a moment where I needed someone to say what I was writing was correct.

Lowlight of the Day: Obviously the part where I didn’t find I was doing it right. But I am!

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