THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (PG)
Run time: 125mins
Director: Ben Stiller
Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Sean Penn
Synopsis: In his secret life, Walter Mitty dreams big…really, really big. There’s no challenge beyond his grasp, be it climbing a massive glacier or rescuing a senior citizen from an exploding building. When he’s not daydreaming, the not-so-secret life of Walter Mitty is the opposite of his heroic alter-ego; he’s just an everyday guy facing imminent career downsizing, who’s too timid to ask out his pretty co-worker. But when Walter faces his ultimate real-world test, he springs into action on a global adventure exceeding anything even he could have imagined.
Re-imagining and re-interpreting James Thurber’s most famous 1939 short story – which established ‘Mittyesque’ as a word in English language – the multi-talented Ben Stiller directs and plays the lead, ably assisted by an excellent ensemble cast, in this new version of the tale of an under-achieving dreamer finally living beyond his wildest fantasies.
In this version of the film, which was previously synonymous with Danny Kaye’s interpretation, Walter (Ben Stiller) is now a Life magazine employee – in charge of the photo negatives – when the publication is about to go digital and online. He has been using an online dating site to try and send a ‘wink’ to attract the attention of a beautiful new colleague, Cheryl (Kristen Wiig). Walter also has to help his mother, Edna (Shirley MacLaine) relocate with a grand piano and at the same time placate his sister Odessa (Kathyrn Hahn), who is preoccupied with her musical theatre ambitions.
Walter finds himself under increasing pressure from obnoxious, downsizing boss Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott) when he discovers that he has lost the negative scheduled as the final Life cover from brilliant, maverick and elusive photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). This acts as the catalyst to pivot timid Walter into a series of global adventures to top anything that he could ever imagine.
Accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack, stunning visuals, camera work and locations, with witting nods to the history and landmark photography of the famous Life magazine, Ben Stiller’s film is heart-warming and life-affirming.
Photographs courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox