The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) Poster

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Brilliant and motivating
CountJonnie20 July 2018
Ben Stiller is Walter Mitty, a man who looks as if he does nothing, is nothing and is perceived as nothing. Except for during his little fantasies in which he is a hero, but during these weirds moments in which he dozes off, others write him off.

Until he finds a goal in life, which puts in him adventurous situations by accident, which transform him in the man he always was. A unique individual, an adventurer, a dreamer who fulfills his dreams and finds the appreciation he needs and deserves. But the appreciation doesn't come from other, but from himself.

What the movie does brilliantly, is make the watcher feel connected to Walter Mitty and feels with him. You'll find him goofy, but likable. Your respect for him will grow with every minute, and at the end of the movie, you'll love him. Maybe you even recognize your own milestone moments, mountains you have climbed, seas you have sailed, so we all are bigger than we are perceived, as long as you have that respect and confidence from within.

Props to Ben Stiller. Jim Carrey had his Truman Show, Will Ferrel had his Stranger Than Fiction. Ben Stiller's Walter Mitty should be in that group.
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What a Shame...Ignored at the Box Office
LeonLouisRicci20 May 2014
There is a World, in the Head of Walter Mitty that Does Not Exist, but don't tell Walter Mitty because that is His Escape.

What a Movie it is, this Incredibly Infectious Film. It is a Humorous, Touching, Visually Arresting, Romantic, Beautiful Escape. You could say that it is an Atypical Film as it goes Against the Grain of Current Bottom Line Procedures.

It is and most Likely was a Hard Sell. It's not the Latest Gross Out Comedy of Wallowing, Witless Pubescent Pandering. The Kind that Thinks that Creativity is Showing a New Way to Watch Someone take a Pee or Hurl Upchuck in Slow Motion. No this is a Somewhat Subtle, Warmhearted, Slice of a Life that No One Notices. He is a Plainly Dressed Man that Sports No Tie or Stubble.

The Market Men, those Profit Pursuers were Right. They Know the Audience Out there and it has No Tolerance for a Masterpiece of Chicanery with Charm. The Movie was a Flop out of Gate. It Bombed in the U.S. and that was Predictable. But Ben Stiller has Made an Enduring Epic of a Production. The Film is about as Good as it Gets for this Type of Hardly Ever Made Movie that has No Target Audience, as it Presents its Comedy, Action, and Adventure Without the Aid of a Caped Crusader or a CGI Monster.

Everyone Involved in this Glorious Film should be Proud. It is Life Affirming, Inspiring, and All the Good Things that We Need now and then. An Entertaining, Uplifting, Soul Searching, Artful Experience that Movies can be at Their Best. It may not be the Success Financially that Bottom Feeder, Bottom Liners want to make but in this Case it was Worth It.

Nothing this Good should be Ignored and should be Seen by the Very People that won't See it. It just Could take the Edge off that Cynicism, and Make Them Feel Good. The Movie Might just Find a Place in Their Heart. That is going to Make Some Uncomfortable. Maybe that's why They Stayed Away in Droves.
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So many great moments
kosmasp18 June 2014
Actually just one of them would make me want to give this a 10/10 and it is very close in my eyes. The scene I'm talking about involves a helicopter and a song that really got under my skin. If you don't feel a thing during that scene ... well I don't know what to say. The whole thing is build upon feelings and dreams. Obviously breaking out of them and making some of it reality (not the ones that can not be achieved obviously, like flying or other stuff) is the ultimate goal.

Ben Stiller might be known for one thing, but we can see with this movie he has a wider range. And the visual/virtual effects he uses help support his vision. A vision of a novel that I haven't read, but sounds more than intriguing even after you've watched the movie. Which cannot be said about most of novels/movies that have been made this way. This is not your typical movie, even though it might hit some familiar notes and go ways that are to be expected. Take the journey and fly with it ...
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An Utterly Mesmerising Spectacle
CalRhys1 July 2014
'Tropic Thunder', 'The Cable Guy', 'Zoolander'... Ben Stiller has created some entertaining comedies, but 'Walter Mitty' is by far his most audacious piece of direction so far. The story is solid and the cinematography is stunning, Stiller has created an utterly mesmerising spectacle that follows the same basis of the 1947 classic starring Danny Kaye. Whilst I found the majority of the film charming and entertaining, it's the beautiful cinematography from Stuart Dryburgh that really sells this flick, and in my opinion should have been worthy of an Oscar- nomination at the least. One of the most entertaining comedy-dramas I have seen in recent years, a film that Stiller should be proud of.
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Succeeds not exactly for realism, but has huge emotional impact from start to finish
Horst_In_Translation16 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" includes a truly uplifting story and gives a push to everybody to live through their dreams instead of dreaming through their lives. If I had to pick my favorite component of the film, I'd probably go with the writing. However, I have to say that I also liked most of the performances. Stiller made a good job as the lead and so did Wiig. Adam Scott ("Parks and Recreation") was a good choice for the main antagonist to Mitty and he made slick really work. He really nailed his scenes, also the condescending way in which he treated the dreamer Walter Mitty.

Maybe Walter's adventures were a bit too extreme or it felt a bit of a strange coincidence that Oswalt's character (always nice to see Patton, even if only in a small role and I did not recognize his voice, so it was even more of a delight when I saw him) always called him in the toughest of situations at the volcano or with the shark... It was a bit funny too though. That shark scene was a bit over the top for me. The stormy sea would have been enough already. Sean Penn has a small, but significant role too. For the most part of the movie, he only exists on a photo, but it fits nicely. Good casting decision here and I'm not sure somebody else could have worked that character so well. Sadly, I was not too big on the photo/wallet story, but anyway, the character was great too nonetheless. And was that missing photo (and the dismissals resulting from it) really realistically reason enough to trigger Mitty's adventurism? I'm not so sure. Or putting it together piece by piece, for example with that chunky drunken pilot? Well, maybe you should not really question the film in depth, but just enjoy it and its message for what it is.

This movie offers many great symbolisms and those you will have to find for yourself though for the most part. I will just mention two, the camera from above that makes the office workers look like a swarm of ants or everything that involved sending a wink early on, some nice criticism to the online world here. Loved it. Watching it again, I would probably even find many more. Another thing I liked was that it ended before Mitty and Wiig's character start dating or become a couple as it really was not about romance, more about finding yourself and living that way. Everything else comes on its own afterward. The movie has some great music. The Major Tom scene was possibly my absolute highlight. It was a key moment in Mitty's life and at the same time obviously also for the whole movie. Sadly I must have missed the scene from the trailer when Mitty runs next to all these "Person of the Year" photos from Life magazine. Anyway, back to the music, apart from Major Tom I also liked the use of the song "Dirty Paws" by "Of Monsters and Men".

There is actually another Walter Mitty movie based on the same story from 1947 and I have gotten curious. Maybe I will check this one out someday. Anyway, Stiller as a director and lead actor really knocks it out of the park once again, just like in Tropic Thunder. It is not too often the case for me that I rate films from the same director an 8, but here it is. I am curious about his next works behind the camera. I was wowed for the two hours that this film went on and I recommend it a lot. If you're lucky, this movie can become even a life-changing experience for you, depending on how much you can identify with the central character. You won't have to travel the world and fight sharks to make a crucial change though.
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An Uplifting Escape
thatgirlmyra-994617 May 2019
This movie was something I really related to. It shows a man who is perceived as nothing important and wants to change that. This movie could easily inspire anyone, and it's such a wonderful change from the typical sad and action filled movies now. I just love this movie and would highly recommend it.
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A really fine movie, Stiller and Wiig in non-comedic roles.
TxMike12 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I am not a big Ben Stiller fan, but I DO enjoy many of his movies. With that as background, I went into watching this one with a bit of apprehension, but overall I found this to be one of the better movies I have seen recently. And I see about 250 a year.

The story here is based on LIFE magazine, known since the 1800s as a weekly magazine with an emphasis on photojournalism. Many of the covers are iconic. It ceased to be a weekly in 1972, and has been published in various forms since then. Now we are seeing the days leading up to its final cover, the magazine going solely on-line.

Ben Stiller is mild-mannered Walter Mitty, based on James Thurber's 1939 short story, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", about a man who had a very vivid fantasy life. In this movie he is turning 42 as a new manager comes in to see that the operation of publishing LIFE magazine gets shut down orderly and people are fired. But Mitty is the manager of "negative assets", the man who for years has received, examined, and cataloged photo negatives that come in, including those chosen for the covers.

Walter is single and lonely and joins an online matchmaking service, and he has his eye on pretty and sweet Kristen Wiig as new LIFE employee, Cheryl Melhoff. (Her character's name is a tribute to Walter Mithoff, the real person that inspired Thurber to name his Mitty character.) But he has an ongoing difficulty getting things going.

Another key character is played by Sean Penn as a famous but very elusive professional photographer. He sends some negatives and tells that "negative 25" is an iconic image and it should be used for the last LIFE cover. But when Walter examines all the images, frame #25 is missing. That prompts him to set out to find the photographer and ultimately image #25. This leads him to such places as Greenland, Iceland, and the Himalayas.

One of the things that makes this movie so enjoyable, and my wife echoed this sentiment, Stiller and Wiig do not play comedic characters, their roles are serious but sweet. So the whole movie has many humorous parts in it, but done in a very entertaining way. Also directed by Ben Stiller.

SPOILERS: So Walter Mitty gets to live out adventures that perhaps are even better than his fantasy life, and in the end he does get the girl. When he finds the photographer, in the Himalayas, he tells Walter the image was inside the inscribed wallet he gave Walter. It had been thrown into mom's (Shirley MacLaine) garbage in frustration but she retrieved it. Inside was the negative, which became the image for the final issue. It was a photo of Walter himself sitting outside the TIME building, looking at a contact sheet of negatives, doing his job for the magazine.
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In a busy world, Walter Mitty is our spirit animal (****)
filmfanperspective5 May 2015
It might be difficult for choosy audiences with cynical dispositions, but if we can look past the pesky product placement in "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty", we're left with one very, very good film. Ben Stiller, who usually seems to have little clue how to use his specific talents, gives his best performance to date in front of and behind the camera. This is a film that may not resemble the source material verbatim, but the spirit is clearly alive, with a few touches to modernize the idea. As a whole, it's a sweet, confident, and poignant film that has a lot to say, but I think it speaks only to those willing to listen.

Walter Mitty (Stiller) is a negative asset manager for Life magazine- basically, his is the department responsible for bringing in and processing the film from the field that will go into the magazine (and by his 'department', I mean Walter and his assistant (Martinez) ). In essence, in the time Walter has worked at the publication, the very soul of the magazine has been processed on his watch. It's prescient, that his seemingly simple position holds so much sway, but we'll return to that idea.

His problem, it seems, is that he daydreams. Mind you, this isn't the type of absent-mindedness that you or I take part in. Walter misses large chunks of actual time in his fantasy land, jolted back to reality by silence, love interests, or transition managers. In his escapes, Walter is well-traveled and mysterious, interesting and not invisible to others. He's confident and allowed to pursue that which he wants. In other words, he's the full version of himself. I like how this film pulls back the comedic reigns here- Stiller too often becomes, well, Stiller, and overdoses on the comedy. Here, the humor is subtle and fits the tone of the film. It also doesn't pander, or make us feel sorry for Walter. There's a very good reason his life is the way it is, and again, it's presented without pretense.

I mentioned a transition manager, profiled in full douchebag by Adam Scott. Well, the print version of Life is going under in this film, and switching to an online format. Positions like Walter's are likely to be eliminated, as well as accounting spots like the one Cheryl (Wiig) holds down. However, before the end, they want to send up one last issue, and long-time contributor Sean O'Connell (Penn), who has sent a roll of film containing an image he specifically wants to become the last cover. The problem is that Walter has either misplaced it, or it was lost along the way. This causes him to seek it out, thus finally spurring him to make his fantasies become, well, realities.

I think a good portion of society can identify with an individual that finally lets loose a bit, that allows himself, finally, the adventure he deserves. A lesser film would make these emotional breakthroughs farcical, ala "Last Holiday", but this is subtle and decent. That's why the big reveal of what that last cover image is a fantastic moment. I believed in this Walter Mitty as a hard- working guy who missed out on life thus far due to some bad luck. It was wonderfully refreshing to see a character, despite his quirks, find happiness in the midst of just being, well, a good guy.

I caution those looking simply for a pandering, feel-good story around the holidays. That's not what this is. Instead, Stiller and crew have taken the spirit of the source material and adapted it to our world. Granted, there are a few goofs- for example, Walter seems keen on good rock music and skateboard culture, but he isn't aware of a popular David Bowie song? Also, how does one get a clementine cake, sweet as it may be, through customs? Those things don't doom the film, but I do feel it's another reason this will divide people- those that claim this has nothing to offer but cynical product placement messages, and those like myself that sense a broader theme of becoming who we want to be, and understanding where we lose our way. That's a powerful thought, and this quietly beautiful film has the sense to not beat us over the head with it. After all, the film does tell us that "beautiful things don't ask for attention". That's certainly a statement that a number of filmmakers could stand to hear more often.
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"Stay gold, Pony Boy!"
classicsoncall22 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This movie started out slow for me and was starting to get a bit tedious with Ben Stiller's portrayal of the title character, but the Greenland/Iceland trip managed to win me over. Kristen Wiig's take on Bowie's "Space Odyssey" was what was needed to add some poignancy to Walter Mitty's (Stiller) quest to discover himself, find adventure, and win over the unattainable love of his life.

I guess the reason I mention Iceland is because I toured the island in 1977, and it's really not the place one thinks of as a favored tourist destination. There was no Papa John's there forty years ago, so I guess they've come a long way. Actually, I'm still kind of doubting there's one there.

What I particularly enjoyed was the way the film had Mom Shirley MacLaine save the day by recovering Walter's wallet from the trash can. That brought the movie full circle back to the mysterious Negative #25 at the heart of the story. With Stiller directing and in the lead role I wasn't sure what to expect as I'm not a fan of his comedy stuff, but he had a way of making things turn out for the best here. The only question that remains with me is whether Adam Scott's beard was real or not.
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jon.h.ochiai25 December 2013
In Afghanistan on the snow covered Himalayan Mountains grizzled and world wise Sean O'Connell played by Sean Penn gazes at his coveted photo moment. Sean says that all he wants is to be "in the moment". Sean Penn is selfless gravitas in this moment as he confides in Ben Stiller's exasperated mild mannered Walter Mitty, who literally travels to the ends of the earth to track down the maverick old-school legendary photographer. Be in the moment and be present in life--are the eloquently poignant lyrics of Director Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty".

I loved the James Thurber short story which Writer Steve Conrad based his update. Walter is the chronic day dreamer, an escape from his ordinary life. At times Director Stiller and Writer Conrad teeter capriciously all over the narrative landscape including a hysterical and touching eHarmony thread. Granted they humorously frame Walter's "zone outs" from reality. One obscure gag from "Benjamin Button" is nearly wacky enough to spiral into incoherence—fortunately it does not. There is the amazing upside. In a joyously freeing scene Walter skateboards down the winding roads of Iceland; spectacularly filmed by Stuart Dryburgh. Kristen Wiig in a touching turn goes unplugged with David Bowie's "Ground Control to Major Tom". All the curious rifting I think is forgivable for its noble purpose. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" celebrates being present in life. No one is alone.

Ben Stiller is quietly heroic navigating Walter's transformation into the unknown. His blank stares as Walter "zones out" touch the depth of our own vulnerabilities. He is bold, funny, and aware. Walter Mitty (Stiller) is a photo negative archiver at Life Magazine. He has given up on his dreams, taking on the financial and emotional stress of his aging Mom brilliantly played by Shirley MacLaine, about to enter a care home. His sister is flighty wannabe actress Odessa (good Kathryn Hahn), dreams of playing Rizzo in "Grease". Walter joined eHarmony so he can date Cheryl Melhof (Kristen Wiig), who works in the same office. Wiig charms as Cheryl, the quirky single Mom of skateboarder son Rich (Marcus Antturi). Cheryl is smart and pretty, and is actually interested in Walter, if he had a clue.

Life Magazine has been taken over by another Company. To transition over to an on-line magazine, Ted Hendricks (brilliantly arrogant Adam Scott) heads the restructuring corporate team. Ted is a major jerk— arrogant and not as smart as he thinks. Walter is the sole personal contact of legendary cover photographer Sean O'Connell (Penn). When Sean's photo negative for the cover of Life's last newsstand issue is missing, Ted focuses his attention on Walter. Sean claims this is his best photo of his career. Walter must find the missing negative to save his job and possibly win over Cheryl. Working with Cheryl, Walter starts his search in Greenland. Somehow diverting to Iceland, Walter calls Cheryl from a Papa John's Pizza there. It all ties in.

Ben Stiller is inspiring, as "Walter Mitty" amazingly never takes itself seriously. The movie joyfully celebrates life as illustrated by the beautiful soccer game with Walter and Sean in the Afghan mountains. Stiller makes us pull for Walter as he reclaims his power. Kristen Wiig is funny and compassionate as Walter's gentle muse. She is surprising. Sean Penn is awesome as Sean O'Connell, strong and whimsically wise. Shirley MacLaine anchors in her Mother's unconditional love for her son Walter, without many words. Patton Oswald nearly steals the movie as Todd, the eHarmony profile adviser. Warm and hysterical he punctuates Walter's transformational journey. Stiller reminds us with humor and soul that Life is wonderful when we are present in it. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is funny and beautiful.
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Very very rewatchable
RNMorton17 January 2015
I didn't get the original Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Danny Kaye always made me uncomfortable. This is a much different remake about a photography processing expert at the to-be-revamped Life Magazine who has to locate the negative for the shot which will cover the last published edition of the magazine. Ben Stiller is usually very accessible as an actor, we can get into his head and relate to his predicaments and his solutions. That is never more true than in this movie, maybe because Ben also directs as well as stars. Kristen Wiig is also fine in an understated manner as the girl Ben would like to get to know better. Some of the fantasy sequences (Walter has a penchant for day dreams, often at the wrong time) were a little hard to follow. But some of them worked grandly, particularly Wiig's acoustic rendition of Space Oddity at the Greenland bar, which is a magical and pivotal moment in the movie. There are many breathtaking panoramas of the places visited by Mitty, mostly filmed on location in Iceland. Each time I see this it grows a little more on me, and the enchanting musical score compliments things very well. This sort of has to be taken on its own terms but on those terms it is a very very nice work.
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Inspiring and creative
cricketbat21 September 2018
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is inspiring and creative, and I appreciate creativity and being inspired. The exotic settings and the unique soundtrack enhance the viewing experience. I do feel like it should have been funnier, though. I don't know if it will hold up during subsequent viewings, but this movie is an entertaining ride the first time through.
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Ben Stiller's Labor of Love
3xHCCH21 January 2014
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is a short story written by James Thurber way back in 1939. It was about a henpecked man who escapes into a fantasy world of danger and heroics to compensate for the depressingly dull real life he leads.

Screen writer Steve Conrad adapts the title and the name and over-active imagination of the main character and tells his own original story. Ben Stiller directs and stars in this obvious "labour of love" of a movie project.

Walter Mitty is a timid guy who tends to "space out" and enter into a world of his own where he is able to do wondrously heroic exploits. He would rather join an online dating service than to meet this girl Cheryl at work that he fancies.

One day, he misplaced the precious negative of the photograph meant to be the cover of the last issue of Life Magazine. As his job is on the line, Walter needs to look for Sean, the globe-trotter photographer who took that missing photo. Upon deducing that Sean was in Greenland, Mitty suddenly decides to throw all caution to the wind and just go on a difficult quest, which will be the biggest adventure of his lifetime.

Visually, this film is perfect with its breathtaking cinematography and unobtrusive special effects. Many scenes, particularly those showing Walter skateboarding in Iceland, or climbing the Himalayas, were very memorably shot with unique camera range and angles.

The script does fall into melodrama, but I did not mind this. Ben Stiller was very good as Walter, capturing his shyness and cluelessness so sensitively. I liked Walter's moments with his mother, played by Shirley McLaine in a subdued likable manner. I also liked Walter's awkward romance with Cheryl played by Kristen Wiig, in only the second role I have seen her since "Bridesmaids." She was also very relaxed and natural here in a straight role. Too bad we do not see the full strength of her comic skills.

I cannot deny that I was disappointed with how the story went. Once we reach the second half of the film when Walter actually stops having fantasies and does things for real already. I know of course that this was the point of the film, that dreams were there to be fulfilled. I just felt it somehow lost the spirit of the source short story.

Overall though, this was an entertaining feel-good film that will bring us to places we rarely see on screen. The spectacular photography of the exotic settings demand that you see this film on the big screen.

Despite lofty comparisons with Forrest Gump, Walter Mitty admittedly does not exactly reach those heights. However, upon watching this film, you will wonder how something so beautiful-looking could have been totally shut-out from Oscar or any other award consideration.
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7.3 but still underrated
woodycantona2 October 2020
My first watch in the cinema was ok, but somehow I was expecting more, what exactly, I'm not so sure. 2nd watch without the expectations was much better. 3rd watch and I now think this is an exceptional film, good story line, strong performances, the scenery, the soundtrack, it's like Indiana Jones decided to become the lead singer of The Strokes or something like that, nuts I know. A solid 8/10.
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A film (not only but especially) for all daydreamers, searchers for meaning in life, and eccentrics...
ellinmara5 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I am a fan of many fandoms and have seen many films which include elements of or are about fantasy, dreams, and/or imagination. But ever since The Secret Life of Walter Mitty came out, it has been my favorite film of all times. I can't quite say why this film appeals to me to such an extent. I suppose because I myself have spent a lot of time daydreaming about all kinds of stuff, and have, at times, felt a bit out of place in the world we live in. What I have found most enchanting about this film is just how very ordinary and relatable Walter Mitty is. And then he stumbles into this odd adventure... but it's not just your ordinary hero-on-quest, great-adventure story. It is so much deeper than that. Please watch this film! You won't regret it!
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To see the world. To find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.
filmgal143 December 2013
I saw an advanced screening of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" last night. To the right person, this movie is life-changing, life-affirming, and truly beautiful. No, the narrative isn't perfect. The script isn't perfect. There are narrative flaws and stretches of the imagination, but this movie is about stretching the imagination.

The concept - of an underachieving dreamer finally discovering the world - is something most of us can relate to. Accompanied by a truly beautiful soundtrack, Oscar-worthy camera work, and the surprisingly able acting of Ben Stiller, as well as an accompanying cast which includes Adam Scott, Kirsten Wiig and Sean Penn, among others, this is heart-warming and truly special.
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Should become a beloved classic.
Hellmant26 December 2013

Ben Stiller directs, produces and stars in this second film adaptation of James Thurber's classic short story (following the 1947 version starring Danny Kaye). The screenplay was written by Steve Conrad (who also wrote such critically acclaimed drama films as 'THE PURSUIT OF Happiness', 'THE WEATHER MAN' and 'WRESTLING ERNEST HEMINGWAY'). It's about a day-dreamer who's always dreaming of adventure and romance (often involving his new co-worker) who finally goes on a real life adventure to find a missing photograph. The film also stars Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Shirley MacLaine and Sean Penn. I found it to be visually beautiful and emotionally breathtaking; the perfect adventure-drama film for the kid in all of us!

Stiller plays Walter Mitty, a day-dreamer in his 40s who is constantly dreaming of a better and more exciting life than the one he seems like he's trapped in. He works at Life Magazine and has recently became romantically interested in his new co-worker Cheryl Melhoff (Wiig). Both their jobs are threatened though as Life Magazine is transitioning into an online magazine and will be laying off a bunch of employees soon. Mitty has worked there a long time (16 years) but his job is especially in jeopardy when he can't find a special photo that Life's photojournalist Sean O'Connell (Penn) has entrusted him with; the picture is supposed to be the cover of the last magazine. Mitty must follow clues, from other negatives, and travel around the world in order to find the missing photo (by tracking down O'Connell).

I was really looking forward to this film, from seeing the amazing trailers, and I wasn't disappointed (in the slightest). Stiller has never been more likable and his direction has never been more beautiful. I like his other films ('THE CABLE GUY', 'TROPIC THUNDER', 'REALITY BITES') but this is his masterpiece. The music is moving and perfectly placed and the visuals are stunning. Most of all it's a very relatable and inspiring film (for me at least), these are my favorite movies. The fantastical dream scenes get a little too cartoonish and comedic but at least that element of the film is contained just in the day-dream sequences (which makes sense). The rest of the movie is emotionally dramatic and extremely touching and moving. I don't see anything to really complain about in it; it's a truly beautiful film and should become a beloved classic!

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See it
statetax25 December 2013
One really has to wonder what the professional reviewers are really thinking. We looked over the family movie list and barely decided to go to this one based on lackluster reviews. Six out of six of us REALLY liked it and found it deep and entertaining, and easy to watch. By all means, if you are looking to enjoy a movie, go see this one.

If you are looking for a connection to the original story, the connection happens during the first 45 minutes and then seems to go in its own direction. Big deal. The movie moves through characters development, plot lines, and geographies smoothly, and does not reveal its final hand until the end.
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Two Hours of Fantasy That Has Something to Say About Reality
BharatSamra27 December 2013
Loosely based on the 1939 short story by James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty explores the idyllic fantasies of its titular protagonist, as he attempts to escape the mundane motions of his daily routine employment at Life Magazine. When Mitty (Ben Stiller) discovers that photojournalist Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn) has misplaced negative 25, intended for the cover of the final print of the publication, he sets out on a larger-than-Life journey to locate the missing photograph, while reducing his need for daydreams as he discovers that not even his wildest fantasies are a match for an adventurous reality.

In addition to starring, Stiller also takes on directing duty, and does a mostly wonderful job of collaborating with writer Steven Conrad in adapting Thurber's classic tale of a man's yearning for more out of life.

A fantasy adventure with glimpses of comedy, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is, in one word, pleasant. Envision a pyramid of qualities; the film's dreamlike sequences comfortably and rightfully sit atop its magnitude of highlights. With the lines between fantasy and reality often being blurred in Mitty's zoned out state of paralysis, he invites us into his crazy, hazy, even mazy lapses into daydreams of romanticism, adventure and pleasure.

Why are The Secret Life of Walter Mitty's fantasy sequences so successful? Because of their relation to our own imaginations: the things we wish we could say but don't; the places we wish we could go but won't. The film's fantasy references are inspired by popular movies such as The Matrix, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Harry Potter and pretty much every superhero film ever. This hilarious and creative approach to Mitty's fantasies offers an insightful look into how uninsightful our own imaginations can be, as they crave originality but settle for what has been imagined before.

Perhaps a slight disappointment to Mitty's on screen daydreams is their quantity. While Thurber's short story is dominated by the character's constant drift into his fantasy worlds, Stiller's adaptation favours reality and narrative over fantasy and themes. The film's aforementioned highlights are too few and far between throughout the 114 minute feature. Thus, it may have been Beneficial for Stiller to lengthen the film slightly in order to incorporate more of Mitty's fantasies, which would have better established his dissatisfaction with life.

Despite this, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty does have a story investing and intriguing enough for it not to be the film's demise. The secrecy behind negative 25 drives the film along, with love interest Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) also spurring Mitty on in the passenger's seat, inspiring the anxious and rigid dreamer to take his unpredictable ride and become the person he desires to be.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is refreshing in its lack of reliance on dialogue. Instead, the film's beautiful soundtrack and score, cinematography in exceptional landscapes and even the quietness of Mitty, tells us pretty much everything we need to know. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty consists of visual wonderment, with superbly selected and composed music to harmonise the scenery, complementing each other as they stroll hand in hand through Mitty's perfectly paced journey.

"Life is about courage and going into the unknown." If you fail to relate to Mitty's early illusory state, cautiousness and absence of courage, then you probably live a somewhat audacious lifestyle, in which case good for you! For the rest of us, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a relatable, pleasant and semi-inspirational modernisation of Thurber's story.

Just as the film's concluding third appears to have little payoff considering its memorable opening two, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty wraps up with a revitalising, picture-perfect moment, fulfilling enough to make cinema-goers reconsider 2013's most impressive movies.

In spite of its imperfections in almost keeping Mitty's secret life somewhat of a secret from the audience at times, and preferencing the film's plot over his fantasies, this adaptation is nonetheless a satisfying, fun, visually and audibly pleasing present for the holiday season. Not even Walter Mitty would fantasise about battling you through the streets of Manhattan if you waited for The Secret Life of his on DVD or Netflix, but this delightful film is definitely worth the time and box office cost if you find yourself looking for inspiration for your own imagination.
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Ben Stiller's version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was enjoyable enough for me
tavm9 January 2014
Before I review the movie proper, let me just say that I'm familiar with both the original James Thurber short story and the Danny Kaye feature movie version. I think I remember liking both good enough but it's been awhile since I read the former or seen the latter. I did like this version starring and directed by Ben Stiller. When he's daydreaming, I managed to laugh heartily at most of them and when he's experiencing his real-life adventures, I marveled at how he's experiencing something he'll probably never do again but will now have tales to tell to future friends or family members. And Kristen Wiig does well in a more straight role that's much different from her more familiar cartoonish parts, like her recent turn in Anchorman 2, and has the same awkward vibe that matches well with Stiller's character. I also loved her singing of that David Bowie song in one of Mitty's dreams. My movie theatre-working friend thought the whole thing may have been too weird for his tastes but I liked it fine and wouldn't mind seeing it again. So on that note, I recommend this version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
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A pleasant romance for the holidays.
jdesando24 December 2013
"Life is about courage and going into the unknown." Cheryl (Kristen Wiig)

Forget Bridesmaids and Hangovers, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a comic romance for everyone that eschews raunchiness for real life challenges a dweeb named Walter (Ben Stiller) faces daily. He is everyman, a dreamer who gently supplants his daily dreaming with real life romance.

The first part of the film loosely adapts James Thurber's short story in which the now famous introvert dreams of various heroic adventures, mostly as he tries to impress his co-worker Cheryl. The latter part of the film concerns his real adventures tracking down a famous but reclusive photographer Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn). Director Stiller plays it low key while he gently shapes the passive hero into an active one. The director calmly moves into a reality more exciting than Mitty's dreams.

The multifaceted film, however, loads on the schmaltz and one- dimensional characters while it also touches on the curse of downsizing, using the demise of Life magazine as a setting for the loss of jobs, which Walter experiences. Yet, Mitty is lovable enough for the audience to hope this formerly introverted dork can save himself from unemployment and loneliness.

The entire family can enjoy a spirited albeit superficial comedy without scatological or romantic excess. And the lesson about living the dream comes gently and believably. An enjoyable comedy this is.

"To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to...." Life Magazine
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jt411 December 2013
I have given this a "10" rating. There was one minor issue I had with the movie that would make it not quite that in my mind, but a "9" rating would be an injustice to this extraordinary film and, since I'm unable to give it a 9.75 or something like that, "10" it is.

This movie strikes an incredible balance between indy/art-house and Hollywood epic. The pathos of the main character is well-captured in subtle ways, as are the feelings of triumph when he is able to go beyond his own self-imposed limitations. The cinematography is extraordinary-- this is a drama that *must* be seen in theaters. I expect that most adults with any sensitivity at all will find this a highly satisfying experience that speaks to their very cores. My wife and I were privileged to see it in an advanced screening, and can't believe we have to wait another couple of weeks for the official release to go back and see it again.
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Those that dream and those that do
bkoganbing9 April 2018
For those who remember the Sam Goldwyn film on The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty you will find this new version nothing like it. Ben Stiller got some laughs in for sure, but his general treatment of the classic James Thurber story is far different than the one that starred Danny Kaye back in the day. Goldwyn and Kaye opted for straight comedy.

Stiller's MItty gets a lot of time to daydream, he's got a job keeping all the photographs that Life Magazine has had since it's inception. But new management in the form of Adam Scott is shaking things up as Life will now be strictly an on line publication. Still there's one issue to be gotten out and Stiller has mislaid the negative he was sent from photographer Sean Penn.

Penn lives the life going out to exciting and dangerous places to bring back the news photographs for Life that Stiller only dreams about daily. So in that month's time Stiller embarks on a global search for Penn based on some very fragmentary evidence of where Penn is. Penn likes the solitary life in a sense he and Stiller make a complete human being, Penn with the action and Stiller with the purpose that never gets put into action until now.

Some performances of note are Shirley MacLaine as Stiller's mother, Kristen Wiig as the object of Stiller's affections that he hasn't the nerve to speak to until recently, and Adam Scott who is definitely representative of the Age of Trump as Stiller's new boss come in for the liquidation of a great institution.

Some nice location photography is also part of The Secret Life Of Walter MItty which in the end isn't so secret any more.
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Surprisingly good, yet too trapped in Hollywood conventions (and product placement) to be great
cherold20 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I hadn't heard much good about this movie and wasn't planning to watch it, but then my girlfriend saw it on a plane and said it was great, so I decided to check it out.

It is a much better movie than I'd been lead to expect, a thoughtful movie with a nuanced performance by Ben Stiller as someone who has settled into a rut and spends his time dreaming of the adventurous life he'd like to be living. There are fun fantasy sequences, an engaging story, and a lot of nice scenery, and overall I enjoyed this movie, which is funny and heartfelt.


That being said, I felt the movie could have been a little braver. There was a moment, when Mitty is climbing the mountain and all that, when I thought, maybe this movie won't do the Hollywood thing. Maybe Mitty will realize that by taking control of his life, he can move beyond his obsession with the cute co-worker. That she, nice as she was, was nothing but another fantasy. I would have liked to see him start fresh. It's the sort of thing that could happen in a European film, but not in a mainstream American one. To me, this cheapens a tale of self discovery; was it all just to get some girl?

I also felt that sometimes the movie was a little too in love with itself, as in the getting-on-the-helicopter scene, which seems to go on *forever*. But then, someone else who reviewed the movie here specifically mentioned that as one of the best scenes in the film, so I guess some people consider it a soaring moment rather than a point hammered into the ground.

I could have also done without the sometimes relentless product placement. It's not so much an objection to seeing products in movies as to how perfectly framed they are in a way that just screams out, "THIS IS AN AD." Can't these things just be off to the side in a less obvious manner? I'm sure the corporations demand this sort of prominence, but it's hugely distracting to me.

Still, it was enjoyable and I'm glad I watched it. I just wish it had been a little braver and a little less pat and predictable.
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The quintessence of film
jade-coles12 August 2018
There is nothing I would change about this movie. The cinematography = Brilliant. Humananity = Brilliant. Storyline = Brilliant. Music = Brilliant. This is a movie with heart, adventure and soul. This movie has the ability to connect with anyone who has had a life changing experience.
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