The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-poster-mountainDirector: Ben Stiller
Writer: Steve Conrad. Based on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
Released: January 2014
Featuring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn and Sean Penn

An inspirational fable to say the least. I have been waiting for a movie like this for a long time.

the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-trailer3-450x240“Having a Walter Mitty moment”, you’ve probably heard the phrase. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty explores the ‘what if’ situations in life.

It is sort of similar to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, because it is the story of a man’s dreams and epic adventures.

Coincidently, there is a hilarious reference to Benjamin Button in the movie.

Everybody can relate to Walter Mitty. Dreamers, travellers, photographers, bored office workers… Anybody who fantasises about running away or doing something crazy.

the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-ben-stiller-behind-the-scenes-636-370Ben Stiller not only produced and played the lead, but he directed it too. I have a new-found respect for this man. I have fished him out of the pile of cheap laughs in comedies with Owen Wilson or Adam Sandler. He is way up there with respected artists and creatives. Absolutely incredible.

The shots are beautifully framed and the locations are simply breath-taking.

Iceland has been on the top of my travel list for a few years now, so the fact that this movie is mostly based in Iceland just gives me warm and fuzzies. No other location could offer this film with a better foundation. What an exceptional choice.

The characters are real. The acting and casting is superb. Kristen Wiig, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Patton Oswalt, Adrian Martinez… Holy beans. This cast is gorgeous.

Ben-Stiller-Secret-Life-of-Walter-Mitty-Life-MagazineI can’t think of another movie that put me in these situations and locations first hand. I feel like I experienced the courage Walter experiences, and how he felt when he is embarrassed or intimidated. I don’t know how they did it.

I suppose it is the genuine dialogue, the seamless transitions between scenes and the emotional and realistic reactions. Genius.

the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-teaser-trailer-skateboardingNow. The music. The soundtrack and the use of music for the scenes is simply a HUGE part of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Jose Gonzalez and Of Monsters and Men in particular had songs that complimented the film perfectly.

My favourite scene is the montage of Walter Mitty going through the mountains to the song ‘Lake Michigan’ by Rogue Wave. The music is more than icing on the cake… This is the flour IN the cake; it is so essential and so well mastered.

House on fire leave it all behind you,
Darkest night let the lightning guide you
 – Step Out by Jose Gonzalez

I won’t lie to you; I did have a fat cry. But I shan’t be ashamed! This film just gave me chills, and the songs moved me. I blubbered like a baby. Deal with it.

New Zealand’s TV3 movie reviewer, Kate Rogers, gave this film a 2.5 out of 5… Perhaps she accidentally watched Anchorman 2 instead. There is no way this movie could be any less than a 9/10.

2013-07-30-secret_life_of_walter_mitty-e1375223868319Films should be entertaining and transport you to another world, and make you feel different when you walk out the theatre. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty did this. I walked out feeling inspired, excited, exhilarated, happy and feeling the urge to travel, even more so than before.

My favourite component is how a lot of the characters’ mistakes were things that would happen in real life, such as throwing something away absent-mindedly or daydreaming about having a conversation with somebody.

This is more than a feel-good film. This is a lively, funny, adventurous film, full of rich and interesting characters and places. I cried, I laughed, I felt empowered and excited. It’s just a magical adventure. I’m going to see this again.

Don’t just dream it; live it.

Jodie’s rating after first watch: 10/10

The first 10/10 ever given on filmfreak.co.nz!!

November 2014: I have to say, after almost a year of watching Walter Mitty, I think it’s realistically  closer to an 8/10 because Kristen Wiig doesn’t really work with the genre, and the movie can look a bit sterile.

However, I’ll stick with 10/10, because that’s how it feels after the first watch.

PLUS an epic extended trailer:

You may enjoy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, if you enjoyed these:
Big Fish
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Forrest Gump
Stranger Than Fiction
Little Miss Sunshine
Juno
Billy Liar

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About Jodie (NZ Film Freak)

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. I enjoy writing on my blog about films and songs, plus the odd random thought. Currently working as a writer in UK. Follow me on Twitter @NZFilmFreak and like my Facebook page NZ Film Freak. Follow my travels around the world www.jodiehart.co.nz
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11 Responses to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

  1. Steve says:

    Great review Jodie. Yes, I have already seen the film too and it is highly recommended to all. Perhaps Kate at TV3 needs to see it again. The old film Billy Liar is a bit similar to Walter Mitty, and worth a watch on a wet Sunday.

  2. Florence W says:

    I agree totally with your review. I loved this movie. So glad you gave it a 10, it is well deserved.

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