Movies, Drama

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

No Comments 6 January 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Would The Secret Life of Walter Mitty appeal to a teenage audience? Or can you even bring your kids and they would enjoy themselves? I don’t think so. To connect with this film, you need to be a bit older and have developed the sometimes unsettling sense that your dreams my not come true.

I am not talking about big dreams. I mean basic hopes how your life would turn out. Walter is in his middle 40s. He is in charge of the photography library of Life magazine. He has no girlfriend. His dad, who he adored, died when he was a teenager.  He recently has developed a crush on one of his co-workers, but she seems out of reach. As the film opens, Walter is struggling with the decision whether he should sign up for an online dating site. To compensate for a life that seems a far cry what he hoped for himself he is prone to daydreaming.  In these daydreams Walter imagines himself to be a much more adventurous and successful self. When his new boss, who is charged with shutting down the print version of Life Magazine, is bit rude, his imaginary self vigorously defends himself.  In real life he just takes it. Walter is stuck. Then his troubles seem to get serious: for the first time in his working life he cannot find the photo that is supposed to become the last cover of Life magazine. What comes next is a surprising turn of events. If you like what I have written so far, you will want to go on this journey with Walter Mitty.  Let me end with a small side note: When the movie finishes, we find out in the credits that the film is based on a short story. I tracked the very short story, which appeared in the New Yorker in 1939. The film has very little in common with the story except the name of the main character and his daydreaming of a more interesting self. I am quite impressed how Ben Stiller has taken this basic idea and a much more elaborate story in this film.

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Peter

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