“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”: A Movie That Tells a Wonderful Human Story That will Resonate in Your Mind



The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a movie whose cinematography and message will resonate in the viewer’s mind long after viewing.

I don’t think I have ever been as impressed with the first 20 minutes of a movie as I was with “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” The movie isn’t afraid to let you know what it will be about; it’s not going to try to subvert the audience unfairly.
Directed by Ben Stiller, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is nothing short of beautiful. Everything from the shots to the music to how they develop the characters is fantastic. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” was based on a short story, written by James Thumbur.

The movie follows Walter Mitty as he works in Life Magazine. He develops, enlarges and stores negatives of film. The company is bought out and the person who is in charge of the merger wants a specific negative for the final cover of Life Magazine. The only thing is, Walter can’t find it.

Walter’s search for that negative brings him on a beautifully shot adventure and a wonderful human story. Before going on this adventure, Walter would have many in-depth daydreams. These daydreams clearly show that he was bored enough with his life that he would fabricate an elaborate daydream just to escape it. It isn’t hard to see that “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is about living a filled and adventitious life.

My only critiques of the movie can come off as nitpicky because of how fantastic this movie is. I only have two of them and both of them are relegated to one or two scenes. It is clear that Walter’s daydreams stem from a place of disinterest in his life. The movie has established without massive dumps of exposition or a silique that the main caricature is not satisfied with how much adventure is in his life.

In a later scene, it almost explains word for word why he has these daydreams and why after his adventure to Iceland, Greenland and the mountains of Afghanistan he has fewer daydreams. It was more than clear why he had fewer and fewer daydreams. Having the movie explicitly explain it to the viewer feels less involved and feels like we are more of a passive observer instead of going on this grand adventure with him.

The last thing that I didn’t like about the movie is how it keeps this one caricature included in the movie even after his purpose was fulfilled in the movie. At the beginning of the film, he is on an online dating service trying to leave a ‘wink’ on a co-worker’s profile in hopes of dating them. He called the dating service asking why he can’t leave a ‘wink’ and he gets the response that his ‘been there done that’ section was not filled out.

Walter struggles to find what he has done, citing things such as business trips and layover airports. For some reason the dating websites tech support person is a permanent caricature in the movie, calling to ask him more questions that just spell out the plot of the movie. For reasons beyond me, he plays an integral role in the final scenes of the movie. I wish that character was just used for some comic relief and maybe a more subtle hint about how he doesn’t have a lot of experience in life.

The soundtrack of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is truly an experience that is hard to forget. José González, Rouge Wave, and Theodore Shapiro did a fantastic job with it. The music conveys this profound sense of wanderlust and adventure. All of the tracks in the film play perfectly to whatever scene they are going with and have a constant motif of adventure and wonder to them.

The film was shot in many places in Iceland. Having the beautiful mountains and cliffs of a country be the focal point for such an amazing story is a treat.

I got this watch recommendation from a friend that this movie really touched. I can’t say that the movie had the exact same effect on me, but it did instill in me when I was watching a great sense of awe and wonder. Anyone longing for more in life or dissatisfied with how their lives forecast is looking might be very moved by this movie. This movie is good, but not worth a re-watch. Having the movie’s message stick with you and fade slowly instead of renewing the meaning whenever you miss it is missing the point of what I believe the movie to be saying. Go out, experience things, don’t stay in one place too long and don’t let yourself stop you from living life how you would want to.