The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Director: Ben Stiller
Writer: Steve Conrad
Based on: James Thurber‘s short story (which you can read here)
Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Adrian Martinez, Sean Penn, Patton Oswalt
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) works for Life magazine, handling their photo negatives. It’s not the most exciting job and Walter has a tendency to drift off in daydreams. Recently his dreams have been dominated by Cheryl (Kristen Wiig). And then Life gets taken over. For their last issue they are supposed to have star photographer Sean O’Connell’s (Sean Penn) self-proclaimed best photo on the cover – but Walter can’t find it. So he makes his way through the world to track Sean down.
The Scret Life of Walter Mitty was an incredibly sweet, funny and nice film that won me over with its sense of humor and its beautiful images.
I really loved the tone of the movie. I loved how it treated Walter – not as just some sad loser, not as a creepy stalker (though he’s not all that far away sometimes) but as somebody for whom life got in the way of his dreams and now he needs to find them again. And the way he finds those dreams and with that a connection to himself again becomes a sensitive story that is way more than the short it’s based on (which is extremely short and didn’t age well). Sometimes that story is a little obvious, but it didn’t hurt the film at all.
And Ben Stiller does an excellent job, both as an actor and as a director. Walter becomes an absolutely relatable character in his hands and one you like to watch. I thought that the movie would be much more about Walter’s fantasies but I didn’t mind one bit when it turned out that it wasn’t.
But those fantasies were glorious. The fight Walter has with Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott) was hilarious and I also enjoyed the other sequences a lot. But visually even more striking were the general images of the film. Whether it’s Walter’s apartment in its colorless order or whether it’s the wild icelandic landscape, it’s a movie that looks incredibly good.
The cast is great, too. Apart from Ben Stiller himself, there’s Kirsten Wiig who gets to step out of her usual roles a bit (though she is still very funny) and manages perfectly. Adam Scott is a little overshadowed by his own beard but he’s still amazing. Kathryn Hahn I just wanted more of. And Sean Penn had the best role to be incredibly funny and he was. And here again Stiller proved himself a wonderful director, coordinating those fantastic actors in their extremely colorful roles and never missing a beat in the film.
Summarizing: It’s a film that makes you smile.