Movies often have a message to tell. Sometimes it’s subtle, and you’ll only get it if you pay attention closely. Others will force the message down your throat repeatedly until you submit.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is one of the latter – and I mean it in the best possible way. It’s the story of Tom, a man who lives a painfully boring life working in Life magazine. It’s so boring that he often has daydreams that he rather much lives in, like fighting his boss, rescuing a dog from a burning fire, or being totally charming and witty. One day, Tom loses a photo that is planned to be use on the final cover of Life magazine. He must now travel around the world to find the photographer and obtain a copy of this mysterious photo, called ‘the quintessence of life.’
Firstly a mention about the main actor. Ben Stiller is known for his comedic roles, so the fact that he directed and starring in semi-serious movie seems bizarre at first. But the light hearted moments that he adds in from time to time stops the movie from becoming too preachy. Instead it’s a good blend of both depth and laughter. And the fact that he can play both Walter Mitty and Derek Zoolander equally well is a testament to Stiller’s acting ability.
If you’re the kind who often looks beyond the confines of your four walls into the horizon and yearn for an adventure, then that’s another reason to watch this movie. This movie is essentially travel porn – it displays exotic locations such as Greenland, Afghanistan, and the Himalays in the most wonderful way. Honestly there’s all that on this planet and yet we choose to spend all our days in the same place? Seems kind of a waste.
Now, I’m sure the movie isn’t perfect. No movie is. But I can’t really tell you what’s wrong with it. It’s kind of like telling your best friend who just gave you an inspiring speech, “oh by the way you mispronounced horizon.” This movie is 8 hours of motivational speaking crammed into 2 hours of entertainment. Go out there and live life before you die, it’s telling me. Of course, I’m still not going, but it’s made me put down my phone a bit.
(Okay on second thoughts, it’s a bit unrealistic how he gets around without worrying about money. And he coincidentally meets the people he needs to meet despite there being no one around for miles. And Stiller and Kristen Wiig have some of the most terrible chemistry I’ve seen in a movie. But small print stuff.)
Finally, let me just quote you here the motto of Life magazine, which pretty much captures what this movie is all about.
To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.
Basically, go out there and do stuff. Life is too short to just stay at home. Unless you’re studying for exams. Or a medical student. Or you’re tired. Or if it’s too cold. Or there’s nothing to do out there.
But other than that, go live life!