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article imageReview: ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ should be shared with everyone Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Dec 24, 2013 in Entertainment
In ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,’ a day-dreamer embarks on a worldly adventure that is more extraordinary than anything he’s ever imagined.
Everyone zones out on occasion, sometimes calculating this month’s budget and other times daydreaming. It’s been said you are only limited by your own imagination. This creates a much broader world for some, though it’s generally expected adults leave most of their daytime fantasizing behind them. In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the title character frequently becomes lost in his thoughts until his life becomes more interesting than his dreams.
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a negative assets manager at Life magazine. The title is reflective of his dull existence both within and outside the walls of his office, even though he admires the company’s motto that encourages adventure and curiosity: "To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come draw see and be amazed.” To make up for the banality, Walter regularly imagines alternate realities in which he’s charming, romantic and bold. But when the photo for the most momentous cover in the publication’s lifetime goes missing, Walter embarks on an unbelievable, real-life journey to track down Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn), the elusive photographer who submitted it.
The story is a combination of romance, action, mystery and comedy. It never misses a beat and skilfully delivers a feel good film that doesn’t appear to blatantly manipulate audiences. Walter is tormented by the office’s newest bully (Adam Scott), an arrogant up-and-comer. His interest in a work colleague (Kristen Wiig) results in inadvertent bumbling and frequent staring into space as he fantasizes about more successful encounters between them. His representative, Todd (Patton Oswalt), calls regularly in an attempt to pad his unexciting profile, leading to amusing phone conversations often cut short by acts of heroism – real and imaginary. Walter’s commitment to the magazine leads him to become a detective, piecing together clues that he hopes will direct him to Sean’s location and the missing negative. He trace’s the photographer’s whereabouts across the globe, from Greenland to Afghanistan and back, repeatedly escaping death and creating travel tales that exceed his flights of fancy.
The mixing of so many genres sounds overly ambitious, but it all comes together effortlessly. Stiller portrays the unassuming paper-pusher to a tee and is absolutely credible as a guy who is tired of playing it safe and doing what’s expected. Walter embarks on this spontaneous voyage and the audience is eager to follow. As a director, Stiller seamlessly transitions into Walter’s daydreams so it’s difficult to determine exactly where reality stops and the fantasy begins. His imaginings are not visually distinct from the rest of the picture, so Walter’s actual adventures are like dreams coming true.
This holiday season isn’t bringing many obvious feel good pictures to theatres, but this film definitely fits the bill.
Director: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig and Adam Scott
More about the secret life of walter mitty, Ben stiller, kristen wiig, Sean penn, Patton Oswalt
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