The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday October 16th


Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

While “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” storyline may be a simple one, director Ben Stiller created a light-hearted and inspiring picture that momentarily leads the viewer to forget that the same man directed films like “Zoolander” and “Tropic Thunder.”

The movie presents Walter Mitty (Stiller) as a quiet yet hardworking man who lives a monotonous life that is only interrupted by his own dramatic daydreams, which occur more often than he’d like.

But when Walter is missing a photo for the last issue of his magazine, he is encouraged by his crush, quirky Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig), to follow the photographer into the unknown.

About 45 minutes into the film, Walter flies to Greenland and the slow-moving film finally picks up speed. When our protagonist meets some interesting characters and begins his journey across oceans and mountains and volcanoes, his reality soon surpasses his former daydreams.

Walter’s character transformation is somewhat predictable as he learns that life is an adventure and how to stand up for himself. But his physical transformation was a little more surprising as he trades in his button downs for hip sweaters and develops a somewhat rugged façade.

Stiller’s directorial style is definitely unique – he lets the scenes unfold slowly and they contain unexpected humor. But no matter what you think of the storyline, one cannot deny that the film is beautiful. The shots are clean cut and symmetric to represent Walter’s boxed-in New York life, but are full of color and motion as the film moves from Greenland to Iceland to Afghanistan.

Stiller, known more for his funny roles, is very convincing as the timidly adventurous Walter. Wiig plays a very basic love-interest role to get the story rolling, but her comedic roots prove useful when she portrays a number of personalities in Walter’s colorful daydreams. Adam Scott was also brilliant as the obnoxious boss that threatens Walter’s job – if you don’t hate him in his first scene, you’ll want to punch him by the end.

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” leaves the viewer feeling like anything is possible, and if a fictional adventure flick can’t do that, then there’s really no point. In the end the film seems to say if Walter Mitty can skateboard his way across an Icelandic volcano, why can’t you?

Lizzie Goodell

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