Film Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)


I’m not at all familiar with the original short story or 1947 film from which I hear this version differs quite a lot – so I approached the film as a stand alone piece. I thought the trailer looked quite good, but like it may be a little contrived. Also I find Ben Stiller to be a bit hit-and-miss, and I had heard mixed reviews of this film in particular. But I was looking forward to seeing it for myself.


The director and star is Ben Stiller, with Kristen Wiig as costar. Also featured are Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Patton OswaltShirley MacLaine and Sean Penn. Written by Steve Conrad, inspired by an original short story by James Thurber, and subsequent film directed by Norman Z. Mcleod. You can read more about the film, cast and crew on imdb.


A stand out aspect of TSLOWM is the compositing and also special effects – the integration of fantasy and reality in the story is matched (if not surpassed) by the visual integration of the two. The clever visuals add so much to the humour and help to engage the audience in the world that Walter is experiencing.

The humour is both clever and charming, the characters are endearing and I think fairly realistic. Ben Stiller really proved himself as an effective director of actors, drawing convincing performances from all the cast members – with too many wonderful performances to name.

The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and I am astounded by how a film with so many sweeping extreme wide shots can feel so intimate and personal – it’s expertly shot by Stuart Dryburgh. The colour palette is beautiful, it’s all very human and feels fantastical – but not beyond reach – at all times.

The soundtrack captures so much of the mood of the film, it’s also very current and creates a distinct atmosphere around the experience.

The inclusion of various cultures, geographical locations, intertextual references (Bowie and Benjamin Button are highlights), nature, urban settings and a wide variety of characters and experiences make this film such a rich and enjoyable experience.

Score: 9.1/10

Agree, disagree, have something to add or another film to suggest? I’d love to hear from you, so post a comment below.

6 thoughts on “Film Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

  1. Thanks for your insights Rachel. You drew me to look for things in this film that I may have appreciated but could not articulate. The connection for a slightly older generation was “Stretch Armstrong” which was also a clever touch. Agree with your appraisal. Beautiful.

  2. Thanks Amari – I didn’t realise Stretch Armstrong was a real thing, that was very funny though!

  3. I loved this movie. You are so right about the scenery vs intimacy. I really enjoyed the soundtrack too – it is often on rotation on my iPhone now.

  4. It’s a great film isn’t it? I got the soundtrack for my birthday and I love listening to it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *