Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty today. I haven't traditionally been much of a Ben Stiller fan. I did like There's Something About Mary, and grudgingly came to enjoy him in Night at the Museum, having been somewhat dragged there by Master Wicker, but I'd avoided all his other films, as being not my kind of thing.

For some reason I was really keen to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I'm not sure why. I'm not even sure how I knew about it. I didn't know a whole lot about it going in- which is a good thing in some ways I guess.

Walter Mitty is a bit of a dreamer- a daydreamer who zones out and imagines a much more exciting life than the one he owns- working as a negative assets manager at Life Magazine in New York. He lives a small life in the big city, he is single, but looking on eHarmony, which gets way too much product placement IMHO, and has some interesting interactions with his mother (Shirley Maclaine) and his sister.

It is sufficient to say that Walter embarks on a quest of some kind. I was worried that it was all going to be a bit like the secret ingredient in the secret ingredient soup of Kung Fu Panda. But thankfully that wasn't the case.

Which is all quite different from the original James Thurber short story published in the New Yorker in 1939. The original Walter is a rather henpecked husband who uses a vivid daydream life to escape from the drudgery of the weekly trip into town with his wife. Walter's capacity as a daydreamer is the only similarity between the story and the movie, still it's interesting to go read the original story (and it only take a few minutes, it's very short).

The cinematography is particularly beautiful and creative, and there is a very imaginative use of music throughout the film, but do watch out for this blast from the past.

I collapsed into peals of laughter at that particular scene. I was the only one to do that in the theatre, which does make you wonder, but still it makes me smile thinking of it. Signs of a misspent youth perhaps? I'd watch the whole movie again to see that one scene again. Maybe I will...

Stop Dreaming. Start Living. Indeed.


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I've always loved that story and its like. Then again, I'm a bit of a dreamer. No, I'm a complete dreamer. As my son has said, "My mom doesn't live in this world."

Parisbreakfasts said...

OK you've convinced me to see it!
No mention of the wonderful original Dannt Kay version?

Anonymous said...

Not a perfect flick to make your mark on the world with, but still an impressive one that shows Stiller can direct something as big and as ambitious as this. Good review Louise.

Sim Carter said...

Great write up Louise, so glad you enjoyed it!