Metascore
54

Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 39
  2. Negative: 4 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 24, 2013
    100
    The story Stiller tells manages to float in a most peculiar, satisfying way.
  2. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Dec 24, 2013
    80
    Stiller balances his big ambitions with small, grounded truths.
  3. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    Dec 23, 2013
    80
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Paul Bradshaw
    Dec 23, 2013
    80
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 28, 2013
    75
    In his uniquely funny and unexpectedly tender movie, Stiller takes us on a personal journey of lingering resonance.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Dec 25, 2013
    75
    The quest ends in a surprise Capra-esque resolution, which both satisfies and cloys.
  7. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 24, 2013
    75
    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.
  8. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Dec 24, 2013
    75
    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.
  9. 75
    It’s a charming, whimsical and ever-so-slight film, a bit of an over-reach but pleasant enough, even when it falls short.
  10. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 25, 2013
    70
    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.
  11. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 24, 2013
    70
    Stiller's sensibility creates a movie that's smarter than you think it will be.
  12. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Dec 24, 2013
    67
    In the end, Walter Mitty is a film about acting out our dreams. But Stiller never quite shows us the soul of his dreamer.
  13. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 24, 2013
    63
    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.
  14. Reviewed by: Tom Shone
    Dec 22, 2013
    60
    It's too airless, too perfect, a dream of connection with humanity that flees contact with actual people.
  15. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Dec 22, 2013
    60
    Audiences willing to tune in to its blend of surreal fantasy, droll comedy and poignancy will be rewarded.
  16. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    Dec 17, 2013
    60
    Cloying at times – but always good-natured.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Oct 6, 2013
    60
    Rather than channeling James Thurber’s satirical tone, Stiller plays it mostly earnest, spinning what feels like a feature-length “Just Do It” ad.
  18. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Dec 24, 2013
    58
    Abandoning its more original elements, the movie opts for a banal carpe diem conceit that turns Mitty into a globetrotting bystander.
  19. 50
    Exquisitely produced, immaculately acted, and thoroughly uninvolving, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a perfect nothing of a movie.
  20. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 28, 2013
    50
    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.
  21. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Dec 25, 2013
    50
    Let me be frank: to use the words of the august founder of this website, I hated, hated, hated this movie.
  22. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Dec 24, 2013
    50
    The movie is beautifully shot, and some of the scenes have a real exuberance, but it's also a blatantly manipulative piece of smarm.
  23. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 24, 2013
    50
    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.
  24. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 24, 2013
    50
    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.
  25. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 24, 2013
    50
    Though it is a celebration of modesty, there is also quite a lot of vanity in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
  26. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Dec 24, 2013
    50
    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.
  27. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 23, 2013
    50
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty just doesn’t work.
  28. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 23, 2013
    50
    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.
  29. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Dec 23, 2013
    50
    The triumphs feel engineered, and the realizations overheated. Seldom has a globe-spanning, soul-plumbing search for what really matters looked so inconsequential.
  30. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Dec 18, 2013
    50
    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.
  31. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Dec 16, 2013
    50
    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.
  32. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Oct 6, 2013
    50
    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.
  33. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Oct 6, 2013
    48
    Palpably well-intentioned, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is nevertheless phony to the core.
  34. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Oct 5, 2013
    42
    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.
  35. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Dec 25, 2013
    40
    You’re going to find it all either enormously empowering or deeply calculated: an Arcade Fire–scored TV commercial for instant spirituality.
  36. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Dec 25, 2013
    38
    A run-of-the-mill movie hero.
  37. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 19, 2013
    38
    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.
  38. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Oct 6, 2013
    38
    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.
  39. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 25, 2013
    25
    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."
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 379 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 85 out of 98
  2. Negative: 6 out of 98
  1. Dec 27, 2013
    10
    I can't believe this movie has a metascore of 54. This is one of the best movies of the year. I know this site bases the score on a wide range of reviews, but when they get it this wrong I question the value of coming here. Full Review »
  2. Dec 25, 2013
    7
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a sweet and well-meaning movie whose intent is to inspire and uplift its audience, but it approaches its message with all the subtlety of a sugar rush. It has many entertaining and endearing moments even if it never quite comes together as a fully satisfying whole. Most of its problems are on paper where no gloriously shot vista or Arcade Fire music cue can help. Still, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty's a decent escape from your daily routine. It's just not a great escape. Ben Stiller directs and stars in the heartfelt, but superficial fantasy-dramedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which wants to say big things about life but never fully delivers on all its promise. Full Review »
  3. Dec 25, 2013
    9
    I usually respect critics' opinions, but I just don't know what they were thinking when they gave bad reviews to this amazing movie.

    GORGEOUS cinematography, superb directing. Possibly Stiller's best performance ever. My favorite movie of the year so far. Don't see how anybody couldn't fall in love with it.
    Full Review »