The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn

Directed by: Ben Stiller

Rating: 1 2 3 4

'Dream it 'til your dreams come true.'
Aerosmith, Dream On

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) and boss Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott) do imaginary battle

Dear God, I'm getting soft in my old age. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is corny, predictable, sentimental... and utterly delightful from start to finish.

Ben Stiller (who also directs) plays the fabled daydreamer, a meek, grey little man with a lonely heart, a dwindling bank balance and an empty E-Harmony profile, who works hard at his job as a negative manager at Time, sorry, Life magazine, and keeps his mouth resolutely shut while asshole managers shoot theirs off in a manner that makes Douglas Reynholm from The IT Crowd look positively tactful. Yet all the while Walter comforts himself with heroic/romantic/downright violent fantasies that put the average humble 'quit job/see the world/marry Johnny Depp' reverie to shame.

Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty and Sean Penn as Sean O'Connell

But when, with his job on the line, Walter must leave the comfort of his basement office in search of a missing photo destined for the magazine's final cover, he finds himself plunged into a real life adventure more bizarre, exciting and dangerous than even his wildest dreams. Has a lifetime of 'zoning out' of reality to star in his own imaginary action movie prepared Walter for the real thing? That's what he – and we – must discover.

Ben Stiller was born to play the sad, put upon, yet eminently likeable everyman Walter, while Sean Penn is equally in his element as the grizzled, old school renegade photojournalist Sean O'Connell, who Mitty must pursue from the icy waters of Greenland to the wilds of Afghanistan in search of the misplaced negative. So while there are several moments that require a large pinch of salt to digest (like mobile reception in the Himalayas – I don't have reception in my living room), the performances are so genuine and charming that you'll swallow anything.

Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty and Kristen Wiig as Cheryl in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Like Forrest Gump, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a beautifully crafted, heart-warming film about daring to be different and daring to dream; an almost magical movie that lovingly goes to show that anyone, no matter how unlikely, can achieve anything if they set their mind to it and just let go.

Sure, the soundtrack is a little self-importantly overwhelming at times and the denouement fairly obvious from the start, but the witty, cleverly underplayed script, stunning cinematography and awesome feeling of joyous release make this an infectiously feelgood film.

So sing through the laughter, sing through the tears and dream on with Walter Mitty.

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