Most Hollywood films are flights of fancy. We are transported into this world of make-believe. Where little boys and girls grow up to save the world. Where hope and goodness can prevail against evil. Where true love can change the course of one’s life. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is one of those amazing films which imbibes all those aspects. Be amazed by the visual beauty shown and catch your breath in this marvelous and sublime movie. Directed by Ben Stiller, this film is an ode to cinematography. The cast consists of Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley Maclaine, Patton Oswalt and Adam Scott. It is an unusual grouping of stars who are normally known for their comedies. However, be prepared for a lovely shock as the cast do justice to this amazing story.
The movie title is a little misleading, isn’t it? What is The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty? Before you start searching, here is a little bit of information for you. The plot is based on a short story written by James Thurber in 1939. With a modern take on the subject, we are shown Walter Mitty, played by Ben Stiller. An ordinary man, with an ordinary life. A face in the crowd, a soft-spoken and kind-hearted gentleman who takes care of his mother, Shirley Maclaine. Working as a “Negative Asset Manager” at Life magazine, he deals with camera film and negatives. All you kids out there, this is what people used for cameras in the past. Now he is a relic in the digital age. He goes about his daily business, lost in the grey. The girl, Kristen Wiig, whom he likes doesn’t even know that he exists. His imagination takes him out of his humdrum life. You get treated to a world unlike any other. This is his secret life. You must be wondering, so what? Everyone has an imagination. We all day-dream and engage in fantasy. What’s so different now? Here is the difference. Walter Mitty takes charge of his life with glorious aplomb. He starts to take risks. In doing so, he learns about the value of life and its capacity for adventure. All because of the girl. As the magazine announces its demise, he is put in charge of the last cover image of this iconic publication. However this negative is missing. Walter is suddenly faced with a dilemma, how can he track down the photographer? By the way folks, the photographer is played by Sean Penn. Thus, begins his adventure. A glorious leap into the unknown and you, the audience, are taken on this ride.
The movie is a visual treat. You get immersed in the sublime beauty all through the film. Walter’s life is shown with changing color tones. With a wonderful soundtrack, you get to be a part of this amazing journey. Ben Stiller does a fantastic job directing as well as acting. The rest of the cast is adequate. There isn’t really much for them to do in fact. Sean Penn and Patton Oswalt deliver some lovely comedic moments. They make the movie sparkle with nuanced performances. As Walter, Ben Stiller is good. Now for the bad news. As the movie goes from one visual spectacle to another, there isn’t anything that leaps out. The fact is that the rest of the cast is just there to help the story along in bits and pieces. Walter Mitty’s day-dreams are fun to watch. The start of the movie is beautifully done. However, the audience will get the feeling that the ending leaves something to be desired. Overall the film is a visual adventure about life.