The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)


run time: 114 mins
rated: G
considered: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Kathryn Hahn, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt

movie summary: A day-dreamer escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, he takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. (

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) has worked the last 16 years for LIFE magazine preserving negative pictures and other artifacts. The magazine is about to run its last printed edition which will leave Walter facing an uncertain future. The best parts of his day is when he bumps into his crush Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) who works in the accounts department. He often falls into a day-dream about sweeping her off her feet and being a hero. The day dreams help him escape the harsh reality that he is a complete loser with no exciting stories or adventures to talk about, that is until his life gets turned upside looking for a certain picture.

Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) is one of the world’s most famous photographers and has had his masterpiece pictures published in LIFE magazine for years. Walter has been personally taking care of all Sean’s work and making sure it gets properly showcased in the magazine. Two weeks before the final edition hits newsstands Sean sends in his final roll of negatives which has negative #25 on it, the last LIFE cover picture. Only problem is, negative #25 isn’t actually on the roll! Walter’s boss Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott) wants to see the picture except Walter doesn’t have it. He approaches Cheryl to help him track down Sean, who is always on the go, to find out where the negative is.

The pair discover that Sean was last spotted in Greenland on a fishing boat. Walter in an attempt to save his job, win over Cheryl, and take the first real adventure of his life decides to head north. Little does he know, that tracking Sean down becomes one heck of an adventure that will bring him from Greenland to Iceland, back to New York, then off to Afghanistan and then Himalayas. He will interact with many people from different cultures while bringing all his day dreams to life.

my thoughts:The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a remake of the original 1947 movie that starred Danny Kaye. I have never seen the original, but one can only assume this version is much better. Ben Stiller is at his best when playing a character audiences fall in love with and want to see happy in the end, which is perfect for Walter Mitty. You watch his boring life unfold everyday at the beginning and you just wait for him to break out of his shell, win the girl, and do something crazy. The adventures he goes on takes him to several different countries that feature spectacular scenery which help breathe life into the story. Audiences will laugh at the problems he encounters because of his lack of travel experience, but thanks to helpful people he is able to continue on his trek of self discovery without any major set backs.

This story is charming and funny, worth a watch at some point, although I didn’t feel the need to drop everything in my life to go on a crazy adventure. Maybe my expectations were to high which means anyone who goes to see it should take it as it is, an entertaining movie and nothing more.

my star rating: 6 out 10

4 thoughts on “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

  1. Nice review Ryan. The movie is definitely more ambitious than you’d expect from someone like Stiller, but I have to say, he handled it quite well. Granted, it wasn’t perfect, but he did his best in keeping a cohesive tone that not only made us laugh, but feel our hearts a bit touched by Walter and the rest of the characters around him. Even Sean O’Connell, aka, Sean Penn playing himself.

    1. That’s a valid question. First off I would never compared such an iconic movie to this movie. Second I can see just two possible comparisons. Forest and Walter are told to run and travel so they do, which allows one to experience American history and the other to experience once in a life time moments. There could be something else I missed so feel free to let me know.

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