The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: a Film in Review
By Onna Carr
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty starring Ben Stiller is one of my all-time favorite films because it shows how to live well and to never lose your imagination. I love how this film took the famous play, which ended rather depressingly, and turned the story to show how imagination and reality can combine to create a full and well-lived life.
The film opens with the main character, Walter Mitty, sitting in his stark apartment balancing his checkbook and trying to gather the courage to send a person on eharmony a wink. He then goes to work at Life magazine to be greeted by the fact that his job as a negative assets manager may be in jeopardy because Time was bought out and he cannot find negative frame #25, "the Quintessence of Life," for the final print cover.
This lost frame leads to a madcap and heartwarming adventure as Walter takes a trip around the world, bikes and skateboards through Iceland, witnesses a volcano eruption in Greenland, gets a cheap airplane ride in Yemen, and is held up at customs upon arrival in the States because of his flute-playing skills.
I love how Walter Mitty realizes that you cannot give up on your dreams, because they will find you at the oddest of times and in the most unusual of places, and that is the unique aspect of destiny. I also love how he cares for his family and discovers that imagination may provide interesting inroads into reality, but reality provides a life imagination can only dream of, if you have the courage "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,” which is Life magazine's motto.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty asks viewers to have the courage to truly see the world and what lies behind their walls. This film also asks who do we need to connect with that we are not reaching out to? And, lastly, what does the courage to live well feel like? The answer I think, is simply "the Quintessence of Life."
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