I’ve had a hard time thinking about how I wanted to introduce Ben Stiller’s latest directing effort, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. The ultimate thing to say is that Ben Stiller has turned a corner when it comes to his films. His previous films are some comedy legends, like Cable Guy and Tropic Thunder and Zoolander. Walter Mitty is a turn away from the hysterical comedies the Stiller family is known for.
Walter Mitty is the story of a quiet independent picture editor for Life magazine who is prone to sudden and realistic day dreams that leave others looking oddly on Walter.
When Walter develops a crush on a new employee he ventures to her online dating profile in hopes to make a connection with out having to do it in person. They abruptly learn that Life magazine will be printing it’s final issue. Walter is tasked with handling a role of negatives from their most trusted photographer and it includes his recommendation for the picture that should end up on the cover of the final issue. The trouble is Walter can’t locate the negative or Sean O’Connell, who sent the film. He reluctantly embarks on a world wide journey attempting to track down O’Connell and the film.
On his journey he encounters various characters who have interaction with O’Connell and because of the crazy adventure his sudden day dreaming episodes are replaced with real life adventure. When he finally tracks Sean down and sees the way he thinks and lives and works he is, in a way, changed.
Ben Stiller gives a warming performance in which he exudes qualities that so many of us can relate to. The investment you make into Walter Mitty’s life leaves you with such heart felt satisfaction as to how he begins LIVING his life inside of dreaming it.
The layout and connections throughout the film are so seamlessly connected it’s as if it perfectly flows as it should. With performances that are just right when it comes to their subtlety.
If you are a fan of the short story or the 1947 Danny Kaye version and are hoping for strong connections, you most likely will be severely disappointed. It’s a very modern twist and aside from the day dreaming aspect bears no resemblance to the originals. Thats not at all to say it takes away from what a beautiful, feel good film it is.
There’s a possibility you could see a script nomination and an outside chance at a directing nomination when Oscar announces the nominations.
It’s beauty and courage it gives off makes it a film that really is highly entertaining and moving.