Film Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Whilst my Dad went to watch Boxing Day football, and my sister having moved out of our house, this Boxing Day was going to be a little quiet for me and my Mum, so we decided to go and see a film.

I have seen the films I have really wanted to see, so I wasn’t really fussed. But my mum rarely sees a film the whole way through. She hardly goes to the cinema, and when we shove on a DVD at home, she flitters in and out because she is napping or has to get dinner ready etc and so forth. But the thing is, she doesn’t really mind, she just isn’t a film person.

We narrowed it down to two films, but with her fear of bumping into a pupil in the screening of Frozen, (she is a HLTA in a nearby Primary school), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was chosen.

I didn’t know much about the film, so I did a search on the good old internet. The film synopsis says: “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is James Thurber’s classic story of a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies…” Me and my mum do not like fantasy films and my pet hate is constant flashback or dream sequences in films. So far so good (or not.)

So I looked up the trailer, which to be honest, did not sell the film at all (I can say that now I have actually watched it).

I spoke to my sister, my Dad and a couple of friends about the film, and they all came to the same conclusion as I did when we watched the trailer. We thought it would be about a guy called Walter Mitty who was just an ordinary man by day, but lead a secret life by night and the weekends. Oh, and plus he dreams a lot. Well, I was proven wrong.

Sure, he is an ordinary man called Walter Mitty, (played WONDERFULLY by Ben Stiller) and to be honest, by the end of the film he is still pretty ordinary. It starts off with Walter joining the ever-popular dating service e-Harmony but not to meet single ladies, but to meet one single lady in particular called Cheryl Melhoff (Kristin Wiig), who works with Walter at LIFE Magazine. In the first scene, he was trying to gather up enough courage to send Cheryl a “wink” and when he finally does, there is an error. After a few more unsuccessful tries, he rings up e-Harmony to get them to sort out the problem, where he gets talking to Todd (Patton Oswalt), who asks Walter to fill in his profile to help him look less boring for potential suitors. Todd asks him to tell him “Where he has been and what has he done?” Walter could only tell him that the furthest he has ever really been is to Phoenix. Then off he goes on a little daydream, and trots off to work as a “negative-asset manager”.

So sure, there is a little bit of ROM, but no way is it a ROM-COM. It has funny bits, but I think this film is not here to make us laugh, it is there to make us think.

With his and his co-workers jobs on the line (LIFE magazine is turning digital), and Walter losing a vital negative out of a photo roll that they wanted to use for the last cover, he has to embark on a journey to find it and find Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). So in a nut-shell, Walter goes out and gets a life.

It isn’t the best film out this year, but nor is it the worse. I did sometimes feel it dragged, but it was such an easy-going film to watch. You don’t worry about the character, you don’t have to hold your breath, nor do you get an adrenaline rush from it. But what you do get is the feel good factor. I am a major fan of films that make me leave the cinema feeling, pretty awesome.

There was no let-down member of the cast, but there was one stand out performance. I feel that Ben Stiller has always played “funny” characters, but for once, you take him seriously. I have always liked him as an actor, but I have never been blown away by a performance, but I thought he played Walter Mitty just superbly.


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