Having received The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as a gift, I started watching with no foreknowledge beyond a trailer. It’s interesting for me to go into movies like that, since I usually choose them by talent involved. Mostly actors, but there are some producer, director, and writer geniuses I look for too. Merchant Ivory always gets my attention. Glen Morgan too, though I often get creeped out well beyond my comfort zone by his work, which is part of the draw. I like Scorsese, because of more recent movies like Shutter Island and Hugo, with a lot more to catch up on. Same with Kubrick…. Nothing like movies and the talent behind them to make me digress.

With Walter Mitty I went in blind, as it were. I haven’t even read the Thurber story, though I’m more inclined to now, because I really enjoyed the movie. After it was well underway. I don’t do well generally with movies that start with office drudgery. The Russell Crowe charmer A Good Year almost lost me with too much office stuff, and then I ended up loving it. I try to be cautious about sticking around long enough to see what the second act holds. I’m so glad I did with Walter Mitty.

The first thing that grabbed me was the way fantasy drove his existence to a higher plane, even if no one else knew. Just about everyone with imagination does that to some extent. From dreams of winning the lottery to cinematic mental storytelling, fantasies give us a way to transcend whatever we need to escape and have a better life in some small way. So in that Walter becomes extremely relatable.

The thing about this story that’s so lovable is that our hero becomes just that. Mister Milquetoast becomes a live action heroic figure, even if his quest is for a photograph instead of treasure or truth. My favorite scenes are everything with the helicopter pilot and the sublime and scenic skateboarding adventure. At that point the starkly gorgeous scenery in
Iceland costars right along with Ben Stiller. It made me want to go there, which is a fine challenge for any movie I watch. (Still wishing for a fast train to Asgard…)

So The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a gift. Both for my birthday and as a movie I could have disliked, but really loved by the end. Add in the always awesome Shirley MacLaine and a great soundtrack, and Walter Mitty is truly memorable.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Official Trailer