Reviews - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Taglines: Stop dreaming. Start living.

Director: Ben Stiller

Writers: Steve Conrad, James Thurber

Stars: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly, Kathryn Hahn, ...

The manager of the negative assets sector of Life magazine, Walter Mitty, has been working for sixteen years for the magazine and has a tedious life, not going anywhere but from his home to his job and vice-versa. He is an escapist, daydreaming into a world of fantasy many times a day. Walter has a crush on the recently hired Cheryl Melhoff but he is too shy to invite her on a date and he is trying to contact her via online dating. The magazine is preparing to release its last printed edition and the loathsome manager of transition Ted Hendricks is preparing an inevitable downsizing over the next few days. Walter has been the liaison between the magazine and the mysterious independent photographer Sean O'Connell who has sent to him a package of negatives and a wallet as a gift for his work. Sean also suggests to the senior management the use of negative 25 for the cover of the last edition. However, Walter cannot find the negative that is missing. Walter has no means to contact Sean ...

100 | 2013-12-24 | Joe Neumaier

The story Stiller tells manages to float in a most peculiar, satisfying way.
Read More: New York Daily News

80 | 2013-12-24 | Amy Nicholson

Stiller balances his big ambitions with small, grounded truths.
Read More: Village Voice

80 | 2013-12-23 | Olly Richards

As a director, this feels like Stiller’s moment. Mitty is a film that bravely rejects cynicism. In many ways, it’s the new Forrest Gump. Go with it and it is, in all senses, wonderful.
Read More: Empire

80 | 2013-12-23 | Paul Bradshaw

Like most daydreams, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is funny, sad, weird and corny all at once – and you’ll probably only remember the good bits as soon as it’s finished. But it’s still a lot better than real life.
Read More: Total Film

75 | 2013-12-28 | Peter Travers

In his uniquely funny and unexpectedly tender movie, Stiller takes us on a personal journey of lingering resonance.
Read More: Rolling Stone

75 | 2013-12-25 | Peter Keough

The quest ends in a surprise Capra-esque resolution, which both satisfies and cloys.
Read More: Boston Globe

75 | 2013-12-24 | Steven Rea

The momentum Stiller has built up - his character's globe-trotting derring-do, the care and consideration on display in his directing - carries the movie a long way. Falling short of fantastic, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is still a fantasy to enjoy.
Read More: Philadelphia Inquirer

75 | 2013-12-24 | Rene Rodriguez

Shirley MacLaine pops up as Walter’s ever-forgiving mother, and Wigg kills in an elevating sequence in which she sings David Bowie’s Space Oddity at a karaoke bar. Penn only gets one scene, but it’s a great one, and it reminds you how funny of an actor he can be.
Read More: Miami Herald

75 | 2013-12-23 | Roger Moore

It’s a charming, whimsical and ever-so-slight film, a bit of an over-reach but pleasant enough, even when it falls short.
Read More: McClatchy-Tribune News Service

70 | 2013-12-25 | Richard Corliss

Mitty is a lovely romantic comedy — the portrait of a man, nearly swallowed by the gulf between the world his lives in and the world he dreams of, who manages to bridge the two and to find Ms. Right in the workplace he cherishes.
Read More: Time

70 | 2013-12-24 | Kenneth Turan

Stiller's sensibility creates a movie that's smarter than you think it will be.
Read More: Los Angeles Times

67 | 2013-12-24 | Chris Nashawaty

In the end, Walter Mitty is a film about acting out our dreams. But Stiller never quite shows us the soul of his dreamer.
Read More: Entertainment Weekly

63 | 2013-12-24 | James Berardinelli

The most enjoyable parts of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are his fantasies, such as one in which he stands up to his boss in a way he never would in real life.
Read More: ReelViews

60 | 2013-12-22 | Tom Shone

It's too airless, too perfect, a dream of connection with humanity that flees contact with actual people.
Read More: The Guardian

60 | 2013-12-22 | David Rooney

Audiences willing to tune in to its blend of surreal fantasy, droll comedy and poignancy will be rewarded.
Read More: The Hollywood Reporter

60 | 2013-12-17 | Dave Calhoun

Cloying at times – but always good-natured.
Read More: Time Out London

60 | 2013-10-06 | Peter Debruge

Rather than channeling James Thurber’s satirical tone, Stiller plays it mostly earnest, spinning what feels like a feature-length “Just Do It” ad.
Read More: Variety

58 | 2013-12-24 | Ben Kenigsberg

Abandoning its more original elements, the movie opts for a banal carpe diem conceit that turns Mitty into a globetrotting bystander.
Read More: The A.V. Club

50 | 2014-01-05 | Bilge Ebiri

Exquisitely produced, immaculately acted, and thoroughly uninvolving, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a perfect nothing of a movie.
Read More: New York Magazine (Vulture)

50 | 2013-12-28 | Joe Morgenstern

Impressive landscapes, plus Kristen Wiig's appealing Cheryl, the fellow worker who inflames Walter's passion, make the movie enjoyable enough. Yet its style is a constant bafflement.
Read More: Wall Street Journal

50 | 2013-12-25 | Glenn Kenny

Let me be frank: to use the words of the august founder of this website, I hated, hated, hated this movie.
Read More:

50 | 2013-12-24 | Marc Mohan

The movie is beautifully shot, and some of the scenes have a real exuberance, but it's also a blatantly manipulative piece of smarm.
Read More: Portland Oregonian

50 | 2013-12-24 | Michael Phillips

The film has a persistent and careful sheen. It looks good. It is, in fact, preoccupied with looking good. If this sounds like faint praise, I'm afraid it is.
Read More: Chicago Tribune

50 | 2013-12-24 | Ann Hornaday

The unevenness of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Stiller’s recessive characterization of the title character, keep it from being an all-out crowd-pleaser.
Read More: Washington Post

50 | 2013-12-24 | A.O. Scott

Though it is a celebration of modesty, there is also quite a lot of vanity in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Read More: The New York Times

50 | 2013-12-24 | Richard Roeper

This is an ambitious and sometimes effective but wildly uneven adventure that plays like one extended ego trip for Stiller. It feels like a movie by focus group, struggling to find a place between genuinely creative fantasy and audience-pleasing payoff moments.
Read More: Chicago Sun-Times

50 | 2013-12-23 | Bill Goodykoontz

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty just doesn’t work.
Read More: Arizona Republic

50 | 2013-12-23 | Claudia Puig

By trying to combine fantasy and romance with goofy humor, globe-trotting adventure and feel-good inspiration, Stiller has made Mitty a mixed bag of clashing tones and facile redemption.
Read More: USA Today

50 | 2013-12-23 | Keith Phipps

The triumphs feel engineered, and the realizations overheated. Seldom has a globe-spanning, soul-plumbing search for what really matters looked so inconsequential.
Read More: The Dissolve

50 | 2013-12-18 | Kimberley Jones

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a very pretty production – pretty colors, pretty scenery, pretty bromides – and a busy one, too, which helps distract us from the sad fact that the movie is generous and humane but not all that interesting.
Read More: Austin Chronicle

50 | 2013-12-16 | Anthony Lane

The result may be the oddest film of the season. It boasts an array of sublime backdrops and a yearning score, but the climate of feeling is anxious and inward, encapsulated in Stiller’s darting gaze, and the movie itself keeps glancing backward, at the lost and the obsolete.
Read More: The New Yorker

50 | 2013-10-06 | Eric Kohn

Shows none of the edgy storytelling looniness present in Stiller's finest work. Instead, every element seems calculated to service an easygoing commercial product that plays up the sentimentality of the scenario while rendering it inoffensively bland.
Read More: indieWIRE

48 | 2013-10-06 | David Ehrlich

Palpably well-intentioned, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is nevertheless phony to the core.
Read More:

42 | 2013-10-05 | Rodrigo Perez

Part escapist action-adventure, part would-be exhilarating quest of self-discovery, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty isn’t so much a mess because it wants to be everything at once, but because it employs hackneyed and mawkish methods to achieve a false sense of joyfulness.
Read More: The Playlist

40 | 2013-12-25 | Joshua Rothkopf

You’re going to find it all either enormously empowering or deeply calculated: an Arcade Fire–scored TV commercial for instant spirituality.
Read More: Time Out New York

38 | 2013-12-25 | Geoff Pevere

A run-of-the-mill movie hero.
Read More: The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

38 | 2013-12-19 | Kyle Smith

The story of a guy who never goes anywhere or does anything. Until he goes everywhere and does everything, but he might as well have stayed home.
Read More: New York Post

38 | 2013-10-06 | Nick Schager

Ben Stiller's aesthetics blend overly manicured imagery with soaring rock songs that underline every emotion, lest the film's corporate logo-driven message-making didn't get the point across clearly enough.
Read More: Slant Magazine

25 | 2013-12-25 | Mick LaSalle

If, while watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, you start wondering why Ben Stiller is acting strange, the answer comes during the closing credits: "Directed by Ben Stiller."
Read More: San Francisco Chronicle