Little Movies I Love: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and I’m making deviled eggs and chocolate chip cookies for the annual Super Bowl party.  My entertainment of choice: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.


Why do I love this movie?  First of all, Walter (Ben Stiller) is a true everyman who is thrown into a series of extraordinary circumstances, and he rises to the occasion every time.  He’s a nebbish negative manager for Life magazine who has never done anything beyond his little world of a tiny apartment and basement office.  When he is charged with presenting the picture for the last cover, and he ‘loses’ the negative sent in by rogue photographer Sean O’Connell (played by Sean Penn), Walter sets out on a quest to find him following clues that lead him literally around the world.

In addition to liking the character of Walter, I love the settings in places I will never see such as Greenland and Iceland.  He skateboards through some of the most magnificent scenery on earth.  There is humor too in the people he meets on his journey, such as the drunken pilot in Greenland and those fleeing an erupting volcano in Iceland.

The supporting cast of characters is wonderfully delicious.  The love interest, Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) is almost as awkward as Walter and is even more endearing because she likes him before he has all of his cool adventures, so you feel like she actually deserves his attention and affection.  The bad guy who has come in to manage the transition from paper to digital, Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott), is a real jerk with no redeeming qualities at all, so it is a great pleasure to dislike him.  Sean O’Connell (Penn) is wonderfully eccentric and just the right character to lead Walter to seizing life instead of letting the life be sucked out of him by a mundane existence.

Walter Mitty is the character we all wish we could be: the person who grabs every opportunity for every extraordinary experience that life offers.  The little twist at the end is completely satisfying and all things considered this movie is a very happy way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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