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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty movie review

Movie Title: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Grade: A-

In a Nutshell: We’re all a little bit like Walter Mitty, imagining ourselves doing great things while reality jails us in some dull cubicle to eek out a living. In this fresh remake (the 1947 version starred the lovable Danny Kaye), Walter Mitty is, ironically, a “negative asset manager” for LIFE magazine who daydreams about heroism and romance, but lives an uninspired life. Because he hasn’t done anything “noteworthy or mentionable”, he can’t seem to catch the eye of his co-worker (Kristen Wiig) until...
I remember reading this James Thurber’s short story in middle school and began drafting my very first “Bucket List.”

Uplifting theme: Stop dreaming. Start living. I took my family to see this comedy directed by Ben Stiller and asked my kids what they thought. One of my sons said “Motivated.” I prompted “Motivated to do what?” “More.” Another son chimed in “Motivated to do more instead of read about it on blogs.” The magazine Walter Mitty works for is, appropriately, LIFE. Now, go out there and use your passport.

Things I liked: Gorgeous cinematography! Inspiring visions. Some of the biggest moments of the film were the ones that featured simple joys. The subtle humor had my husband’s contagious laughter fill the theater. Ben Stiller is the king of awkward moments. The 1947 film portrayed an overbearing mother, but in this version the lovely Shirley MacLaine brings to life a supportive, but aging mom who unintentionally brings out the best in her son.

For the younger generation who never had the pleasure of reading LIFE from 1936-1972, it was the photojournalism magazine that introduced us to places all over the world. Its motto, spotlighted in the movie was: “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

Things I didn’t like: Walter Mitty is in really good shape on that skateboard, considering he was supposed to have been working in a dark photography office for 17 years. I know, as if the rest of the film was entirely believable. The great cell phone reception on the mountain top of the Himalayas provided some laughter from the audience.

Funny line: “I have that Benjamin Button thing.”

Things to look for: Read all of the signs on streets, walls, and even mountains during the film for insightful narration. You won’t see Stiller’s famous “Blue Steel” humor, but a solid dramatic performance that is endearing.

Tips for parents: Rated PG! Yay! There are some intoxicated guys in a bar drinking REALLY LARGE glasses. A couple of “mild” swear words. A funny Ben Stiller movie with no F-bombs and crude humor…a refreshing relief. It was a nice change to see Kristen Wiig and Sean Penn with clean characters as well. Your family will enjoy the thrilling action scenes and peaceful moments of reflection.

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