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Why I Love “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

The holiday movie crush can be tough.  There are all sorts of movies throwing themselves out there for Oscar consideration, and the biggest stars release their best work so you – and the Academy Awards – will notice them.

As a result of the stiff competition, you may have overlooked the underdog of the holiday season – the movie that didn’t have Disney punch behind it or an Oscar winning/contender face starring in it.  But after seeing some of the best of the best this holiday season, the one that will stay with me, making it onto my top 10 movie list – Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.


The thing that I love about this movie is that from start to finish, it’s about personal connections.  Real people meeting real people, changing their lives, influencing the way they live.  It’s ironic, really, because the movie starts with Walter trying to use eHarmony to wink at a woman who works in his office – a woman he could walk up to, wink at personally, strike up a conversation.

The movie is about living in the real world, having real life experiences, being present and making the most of the life you have, instead of living in the what if world of fantasy.  Again, this is ironic, since Walter spends the first half of the movie living in his head.  In scene after scene, he daydreams himself into a world he wishes he could live in, ignoring opportunities to make life in the present more appealing.

Ben Stiller in a still from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller is perfect in the role of Walter Mitty.  There are no stupid faces like the ones you’d see in “Zoolander”, or bad puns and off color remarks as you would see in “Dodgeball”.  This is Stiller at his best.  He is vulnerable, determined, normal almost to the point of quirky.  The dream sequences give you a glimpse of the Stiller you either love or hate, but the rest of the movie, he’s just your average Joe, trying to find and make personal connections in this internet world.  He’s all about living in the moment, once he realizes the real moments are the ones that are so much more important.

I love this movie.  I’ve seen it twice, and have come out both times humming and feeling happy.  With a free two hours, especially on a gloomy day, I’d go see it again.