Beautiful things do not seek for attention: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

So I went to watch Ben Stiller's latest movie, the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, undoubtedly influence by the plethora of the movie's billboards around, and because I have always enjoyed Ben Stiller's acting. Turns out that despite the mixed reviews, I liked the movie, not immensely, maybe because it offered a break from the constant action packed movies that I have been seeing lately.

For starters, I think the movie aimed to be inspiring. The whole idea about a guy who daydreams a lot about different adventures but is stuck in a boring job is definitely something that I think we could all relate to. The message is old and cliche now, no thanks to us being constantly drummed this message by the media. And following from the message, the plot of the story is something that we would all feel familiar to by now. Guy gets bored in his day job, guy is not happy, guy finds an opportunity to go for an adventure and guy lives happily ever after. I'm sure Walter Mitty is not the first movie which used this kind of plot.

However, while the story isn't entirely fresh, I enjoyed how it was portrayed from Ben Stiller's eyes. The movie itself is beautiful, with different beautiful locations serving as its backdrop (from Greenland, Iceland, Himalayas and even an ocean); and artistic, in how Ben Stiller chose to portray his shots, like putting in the texts into the various objects in the background and how his shots were framed. The whole story itself feels pleasant to watch, even without an exciting or solid action to back it up.

In a way, the movie feels like a gentle ripple that you normally see in a lake, in that there's not so much of a big climatic action but rather a slow moving relaxed pace. It's down to earth in how it chose to portray the transformation of a timid daydreaming man to an adventurous dude, where the changes happen subtly in the main character. I also loved how the movie tried to incorporate elements of realism in it, portraying how Walter kept track of his accounts as he traveled and the story of how he took up a job he didn't like because he wanted to support the family. Of course, it's still not entirely realistic (because no matter what I do I cannot simply board a plane right now, fly off and expect to survive) but still it serves as a form of escapism.

Of course, ultimately the movie tries to make you think long and hard about your life but it somehow it does not really address the question sufficiently. The ending itself was cliche (I smelled about halfway into the movie) but then again, it is a movie for escapism, our own daydreams if I must, but still it was enjoyable.

The acting put up by Stiller and the rest of the cast was superb (I just wondered why the guys all must have beards) and everything was just okay to not make it too corny or heavy. A simple light hearted down to earth movie. You won't leave the cinema feeling 'Wow', but at least you will leave saying that it was not a bad movie. 7/10 for me.


  1. Though I've never been a huge fan of him, Stiller seems like he can be a really interesting director, given the right time and material to work with. Nice review.


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