I built quote the bucket list in 2013 and “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty” is probably the one I been meaning to see the most. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is based off a 1939 short story of the same name written by Norman Z. McLeod. This is the second film adaptation and unlike the last film or book, moves away from the satirical take on the subject and goes with a more homey and earnest feel.
This film follows Walter Mitty in the last days of Life Magazine. Walter tends to day-dream of much more adventurous scenarios than his daily job as a negative film asset manager would allow. It’s a self discovery story, its done with a-lot of heart and plenty of sentiment.
Walter Mitty is a negative asset manager at LIFE magazine. Unfortunately, LIFE magazine as they know it is changing. Switching to a more digital medium, which means a lot of downsizing for the company. LIFE magazine plans on releasing one final issue. The cover of this issue will come from a very famed photographer Sean O’Connell, portrayed by Sean Penn. Walter is sent Sean’s final film reel, with instructions to use negative #25. However, when Walter examines the contents of the real, #25 is missing. With his bosses pressing him for the photograph, Walter decides to do something a little unlikely and track down Sean. Walter doesn’t know where in the world Sean is, so he tries to decipher his location via the other negatives he got from him. This leads him on an actual adventure of global proportions. This adventure will lead to a new-found appreciate for life and mostly of himself.
Walter Mitty isn’t about a person who didn’t realize his potential. It’s actually a-little different, it’s mostly about a person who has lost his confidence, the belief in his potential. The core of the story of Walter Mitty comes from the grief he had at the passing of his father. Your given a sense that Walter use to be adventurous, but his father passed away when he was 17 and he immediately transformed himself and started working at a local Papa Johns. At face value, this may seem like cheap commercial placement, but it’s really symbolism for mediocrity. A simple of the moment when Walter just stopped, he stopped thinking of fulfilling his dreams, and settled for just dreaming. His mother quotes it pretty well. “I thought perhaps it was really sad for you, you working for a restaurant after a father, after your father just died”
So What about the Dreams!? The day-dream sequences are an important piece of the film. They are a lot of fun, and what I enjoy most about them is how seamless they are. Walter doesn’t day-dream about anything and for no reason. When asked “have you don’t anything note worthy?” he starts dreaming about saving a dog from an exploding building. When his boss is getting under his skin, he dreams about an epic fight with him in the streets of new york. I was, probably still am a big day dreamer. These sequences rang close to my heart because it often happened to me. I’ll let my readers deep in knowledge of human psychology figure out what all that means, either way they felt grounded. Grounded not in the sense that they feel or look real, grounded in the sense of this is where his mind actually went, and more importantly why it went there. Even with that being said, the best part about the film to me hands down is how it becomes more difficult as the movie progresses to distinguish between dreams and reality. In the beginning, its pretty obvious… but by the middle of the film its a lot harder to tell. I found myself emerged in a scene and thinking “wait a minute? .. is he dreaming right now”. Take this scene for example, I won’t tell you which it is tho..Dream or Reality O.o
Ben ‘s directorial resume is not large, and this movie is a far cry from what he usually attempts. Lets all be thankful he enjoys stretching his legs. This is most certainly his slickest film yet. It’s visually very compelling. Both in the dream sequences and the landscape shots of the different locals. It’s his most artistic take on any film and it shows. His decision to leave the darker tone of its predecessors rings true to me.
With it all said and done. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty gets a solid B rating from me. I think it’s humble presentation is actually a strength. The chemistry between all the actors involved is natural and refreshing. In the end, the story about a man rediscovering himself in the wake of personal tragedy is a story we all are apart of.