Movie Review: Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Like Woody Allen, it seems that people either love or hate the actor Ben Stiller. Personally, I’m a fan of Ben Stiller and I love anything involving travel, so of course I was going to be one of the first to see “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” playing in movie theaters.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

An insecure Life magazine photo editor by day, Walter Mitty, played and directed by Ben Stiller, loves to daydream. While the original short story by Ohio-born author James Thurber is based on a war hero, sharp shooter and surgeon, Stiller’s movie takes us to Greenland, Iceland and the Himalayas in search of a missing image shot by Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn), a Life magazine travel photographer.

Print magazines move to digital

In a way, life imitates art in this movie. As a freelance travel writer I am all too aware of my writing outlets moving from print to online. The same holds true in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Walter is in fear of his job being eliminated as Life magazine transitions from print to digital publication. Walter is in charge of an image, photographed by legendary travel photographer Sean O’Connell, that is destined to grace the final cover of the magazine. Sure enough, the negative goes missing and Mitty sets off on a multi-continent active travel adventure of a lifetime.

Ben Stiller, Sean Penn
Action and adventure found in movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox.

Action adventure travel

Why I loved the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” As a travel writer and photographer, I love capturing images of beautiful scenery, writing about the places I visit and the people that I meet on my travels.

Mitty accompanies a drunk helicopter pilot on a daring sea flight in Greenland, skateboards down a knarly road in Iceland – he should have had a Go-Pro camera strapped on his helmet – but wait – he wasn’t wearing a helmet, and eventually catches up with Travel Photographer Sean O’Connell perched on a remote mountain in the Himalayas.

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This travel movie had fun characters – Shirley MacLaine plays Walter’s mother and, of course, features a love interest with a magazine co-worker – Kristen Wiig as Cheryl.

My husband hated this movie

Husband of travel writer: Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) was impossibly hot for the nerd Mitty (Ben Stiller) who could not punch the button on a dating service. The action and photography was fancifully entertaining but the pay off is to have mythical photographer, Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn), not take a photo. Gee, just be in the moment… Spoiler Alert: Apparently, the big plot pay off was that one should look through a wallet, given as a gift, when a negative of a ‘valuable’ photo goes missing…oh a metaphor for having what you need right under your nose. Stiller’s Mitty was too pathetic to care about. It seemed like a selfie with action and adventure for Stiller to indulge himself. Daydreams or real adventure; you can’t tell and you don’t care. The movie looses itself in pretty scenery and that is the only plus. It was a painful movie to watch. I wish I had my $14.00 back.

Have you seen the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”? Did you love or hate this travel adventure movie?

6 thoughts on “Movie Review: Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

  1. I haven’t updated my blog with a review of this movie but i did post originally how excited I was to see it. Unfortunately I’m going to have to agree with the disappointment. I thought it was good but there wasn’t that oomph to make you fall in love. =(

  2. @Jeska
    I was going to say that this is an example of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” However, you are a woman and you were disappointed with the movie, so gender lines be damned. The scenery was pretty!

  3. Stiller seems like he can handle a lot of material such as this, even if it isn’t perfect. That said, I look forward to what he can do next. Good review Nancy.

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