• Original title: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
• Year: 2013
• Directed by Ben Stiller
• Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Shirley MacLaine, Sean Penn.
• Release Date (USA): 25 December, 2013 see more countries
‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ is based on the short story of the same name written by James Thurber.
The movie opens with Walter Mitty ( played by Ben Stiller ) in his apartment making his accounts and watching the profile of Cheryl Melhoff ( played by Kristen Wiig ) on eHarmony. Cheryl Melhoff is Walter’s crush and also his co-worker at Life magazine’s.
Life magazine is about to become Life Online and so Life magazine will have one last issue. The last issue cover will be the negative 25 of Sean O’Connell ( played by Sean Penn ). This is where the adventure begins for Walter Mitty. He is the negative asset manager of Life and he is the one who receives the negative of Sean. The problem there is no negative 25 ! There are just the other negatives and a wallet for Walter. From this moment Walter will search the missing negative.
Ben Stiller has done a great job on this movie. In my opinion, it is his best movie. He directs this movie in an amazing way. He also delivers a brilliant performance as long as Kristen Wiig. ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ is an unconventional movie. It is a journey through the world and life. It is a huge poetic fresco. I enjoyed every minutes of it when it ended I was like “Is it already over? I want to see it again !”.
The songs are wonderful. The soundtracks are mainly indie music. They fit with the story. We find the song ‘Space Oddity’ sung by David Bowie feat Kristen Wiig. This was a special mix for the movie. I am impressed by Kristen Wiig’s voice, she has a beautiful voice and it was a pleasure to hear her singing this song. My favorite song of the movie is the ending credits song ‘Stay Alive’ by José Gonzàlez, a melodious song concluding wonderfully the movie.
In an important part of the movie we go frequently into Walter Mitty’s daydreams of fantastic adventures and we go back in reality. These daydreams are quite funny. One of them is a reference to the movie ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, Walter Mitty being Benjamin Button and Cheryl Melhoff being Daisy. The make-up on the actors feels real, we really think they are old ! Another one is hilarious it is the epic fight between Walter and Ted Kendricks ( played by Adam Scott ). The reason of this fight is an elastic figure ! These daydreams happen because Walter Mitty dreams of the things he never did, of the happiness he thought he never had. However, these daydreams stop when Walter Mitty goes to Greenland in order to find Sean O’Connell because he does not have to go in these dreams, he has done something.
Another part of the movie is about Walter Mitty’s travelling to Greenland, Iceland, Himalayas. The sets are visually stunning, we travel to wonderful places that makes us dream.
The part in Greenland was a lot of fun. My favorite part of it was the moment when Walter has his last daydream, he sees Cheryl singing the song ‘Space Oddity’, it is a beautiful moment. Walter decides to go to the helicopter, it is the beginning of his journey. This song is about courage and it is exactly what Walter Mitty is about on his journey as Cheryl says to Walter “Life is about courage and going into the unknown.” The scene where the helicopter reaches the boat is hilarious. Walter jumps into the water whereas the drunken pilot tells him to jump into the boat and then he faces deadly shark.
The part in Iceland is visually stunning. Iceland is a beautiful country. My favorite scenes of this part were when Walter is on a bike and we wear the song ‘Step Out’ ( sung by José Gonzàles ) and Walter is on a skateboard and moves on the road. These two scenes do not need dialogues to be powerful scenes, they just need the music, the sets and Ben Stiller do the rest.
After being in Ireland, Walter returns to New York where he is fired and learns that Cheryl has been fired earlier. He also thinks that Cheryl has reconciled with her husband. All this discouraged him and makes him threw the wallet that Sean gave him. This moment is probably the saddest moment in the movie but it is not very long as Walter quickly finds a clue that leads him to the Himalayas.
The part in Himalayas is also great. Walter finally achieves his objective – he finds Sean O’Connell. There is a sentence that I loved a lot in the dialogue between Sean and Walter ‘Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.’ When Walter Mitty finally finds Sean O’Connell, he learns that the negative 25 was in his wallet that Sean gave him ! The same wallet that Mitty threw into the trash. Walter did all these travels to find the negative 25 whereas it was just in front of his eyes but he didn’t see it. This is also a way to show that happiness can be just there in front of us but we don’t always see it. Happiness can be made of the small things – everyday deeds. Thus this particular scene is followed by a moment of simple happiness – Walter and Sean play football. This football game is accompanied by a beautiful song.
By chance when Walter is back to his home, he finds out that his mother still has the wallet and so there is still the negative 25 in it. It was interesting to see that after all this time searching Walter does not look at what is the negative 25, he just gives it to the “evil” new boss of Life Ted Hendricks, he does something much more important. He has the courage to tell him that he has to fire people but it is not a reason to disrespect the people of Life who made Life what it is. Thanks to his courage the cover of the last issue of Life magazine’s is dedicated to these people.
Walter Mitty’s journey to Greenland, Iceland, Himalayas was not only a journey to find the negative 25, it was also journey to find himself.
The movie ends with Walter Mitty and Cheryl Melhoff discovering the cover of the last Life magazine’s and the cover is Walter Mitty in front of the Life building.
“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”
Now a small gallery of pictures of the movie:
And the trailer of the movie :