To all those who wander. To those who find themselves sometimes on the top of a mountain or boulder scrambling towards a frozen waterfall, but must the next day settle into a desk and forget that freedom. To those who are always waiting for stolen moments of adventure. I give you The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
After seeing the well-made preview set to a version of Dirty Paws by Of Monsters and Men, I was pretty much in. I’m a sucker for films that involve someone seemingly ordinary diving into the unknown, willingly or otherwise.
I am grateful that although they do portray Walter’s everyday life as a bit “predictable”, they don’t insult you by showing a dull, frightened man who won’t leave the house. Instead, you see his existing taste for the extraordinary in his love of the photos he studies, his knowledge of the people and places Life magazine exhibits, his relationship with Shawn the elusive photographer and of course his tendency to daydream in vivid detail some choice “what if” scenarios that range from carving a golden statue to fighting a man in the streets over a Stretch Armstrong doll.
The subtle, budding chemistry between Walter and Cheryl has that awkwardness that real life inevitably does, and it was nicely done to be a part of but not the main motivation for Walter’s leap into taking an actual adventure to chase down a photo negative for the final issue of Life.
I really love Penn’s magnetic portrayal of the wayward photographer, even if he’s actually only in a few scenes.
Side note, I am in love with the significance his mother’s clementine cake has through the storyline, the Space Oddity cover done by Kristen Wigg, and with the Life Magazine motto:
“To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed.”
I really hope this movie gets some notice. With its sweeping score, pepperings of humor and a story that says “Ohai” to your own urge to frolic in a field once in a while, you should probably see it. Like on Friday. Text your friends.