Film Review: The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013)

on Saturday, December 28, 2013
'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty' (UK Release: 26 Dec '13) // Words: Saam Das

Born as a short story by James Thurber, published in The New Yorker in 1939, 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty' has already seen one big screen adaptation - released in 1947, starring Danny Kaye. This latest iteration has been long in development, with the likes of Jim Carrey and Mike Myers in line for the title role. Ben Stiller eventually stepped up to both direct and star in this whimsical melodrama.

Walter Mitty (Stiller) works in the photo archive department at LIFE magazine, quietly going about his business. He often daydreams, picturing himself as a hero or a lothario - he yearns to be closer to a fellow employee, Cheryl (Kristin Wiig). Following the announcement of the magazine closing and several lay-offs imminent, acclaimed photojournalist Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn) sends a set of photos to Walter to be used for the final issue.

Unfortunately for Walter, he cannot find a special negative earmarked for the cover, jeopardising both his career and the magazine's grand finale. Using the loss of the negative and an inspired rendition of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' as a catalyst, he finally builds up the courage to connect with Cheryl before embarking on a remarkable worldwide adventure to track Sean down.

Stiller's Mitty moves away from the duplicitous nature of the original Mitty for a more earnest approach, albeit still taking in grandiose set pieces. The excellent Jose Gonzalez-heavy soundtrack hints at a rousing nature that Stiller and screenwriter Steve Conrad don't quite deliver but 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty' is a small triumph for the everyman.


'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty' is out in UK cinemas now, through Twentieth Century Fox.

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