The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Flick’s Review)

Posted on | January 3, 2014 | 1 Comment

3 1/2 stars

Walter Mitty, a middle-aged man, works at LIFE magazine as a negative asset manager and he daydreams…A lot. Over his 16 years at the magazine, Walter has worked on many of famous photographer Sean O’Connel’s photographs and yet Walter has never met him. The magazine’s final issue is to be released and the front cover photo by Sean supposedly reveals “the quintessence of life”. But, when Walter can’t find the photo he must travel to find it and in doing so hope to meet Sean, get the girl, and figure out what the quintessence is.


And so is the plot of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Ben Stiller’s new film which he directs and stars in. The film, which was released Christmas Day, is a serious drama, a ridiculously fun adventure, and a witty comedy. It’s tough to master these three genres in the same film, but Stiller does a fair job. This is his directorial debut and 26 years after his first film, you can see he’s taken some insight into the many directors he’s seen at work. His performance of Mitty is great and he gets the wacky/witty comedy down pat: the film is at times very goofy thanks largely to Stiller’s Mitty. He also does a good job with the drama which there is a lot of. Stiller surrounds himself with an only mediocre cast: Kristen Wiig doesn’t have much to do as Mitty’s love interest, Adam Scott misses his mark as the film’s antagonist, and Sean Penn’s brief appearance doesn’t quite live up to the anticipation of his mysterious character that builds throughout the film.

DF-11070-Edit - Ben Stiller in THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY.

The standout here is the cinematography and score. Stuart Dryburgh’s perfectly framed shots bring to mind photographs. All of the meticulous framing goes out the window, however, when Walter starts to daydream: Dryburgh captures the out-of-this-world adventure with handheld shots that manage the same amount of spirit and meaning as the perfectly framed shots. All of the visuals are aided by Theodore Shaipro, José González, and Mark Graham’s soulful score which is aided further by a variety of artists’ other songs (David Bowie, Of Monsters & Men, and Jack Johnson).

The film isn’t perfect, but it stands out in a season of teenage adventure films, adult dramas, and terrible animated kids films. Through it’s hit-and-miss moments, it always manages to shine through with’s it’s optimistic plot and good hearted moral. If The Scret Life of Walter Mitty is one thing, it’s original and I hope that doesn’t stay secret for long.


One Response to “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Flick’s Review)”

  1. Abid
    January 7th, 2014 @ 9:09 pm

    it seems a good movie worth seeing. It is a good review which shows maturity of film critique.I do not think it is showing on the cape now.

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