User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 419 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 26 out of 419

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  1. Dec 26, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. More than other films, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" fractures the audience. Split along the dividing line between cynicism and idealism, one camp finds a sweet treat celebrating the underdog while the other chokes on treacle.

    Armed with a terrific script penned by Steven Conrad, star and Director Ben Stiller proves his mettle in front of and behind the camera. His Mitty is an everyman sacrificing all for family; the flights of fancy an escape from a life lived in quiet desperation. Set upon a quest to find an important film negative, Mitty surpasses fantasy, finds the negative and wins the girl. It's pure hokum, yet surprisingly uplifting. Risking oxymoron, though steeped in fantasy "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is unerringly real.

    The film also peddles the notion our increasingly wired world, where it's not real unless posted on Facebook, is fallacious and dangerous in that human connection to the world and each other is becoming the fantasy. Think of sightseers sequestered behind iPads and smart phones snapping away in lieu of directly experiencing the marvels before them. Or the story of a man beaten by several others on a subway platform where none of the bystanders stepped up or called 911 but did record the scene on their mobile devices.

    Best expressed by the object of Mitty's search, photographer Sean O'Connell (a fine Sean Penn) is poised to take a spectacular snap of the elusive Snow Leopard, balks and states (paraphrasing), "Sometimes I don't take it. I just like to be in the moment." A concept drowning in contemporary life built on instantaneous gratification. (The difference between the immediacy of digital photography and traditional which requires time, patience and a swim in smelly, carefully prepared chemicals.)

    "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." This cinematic "Life" magazine motto - the film's theme - infers the adventurous spirit, curiosity and purposefulness require resuscitation. Absent the phony, wise guy RomCom dialogue used in most of the ilk, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," quietly celebrates the human spirit like no other film in recent memory. And there is nary a cynical frame in it.

    Kristen Wiig is understated and quite appealing. In an unforgettable scene, Walter fantasizes she takes the stage in Nuuk, Greenland to dedicate a rendition of Bowie's "Space Oddity" to him. The ballad rouses Walter to board a helicopter and, hanging on for dear life, continue the quest. Later, while pedaling in hot pursuit of Sean O'Connell, a large flock of birds creates Wiig's likeness. It's an amazing image (as is the cinematography of Iceland and British Columbia).

    Adam Scott's corporate raider is a bit broad and one dimensional. Shirley MacLaine is fine as Edna Mitty; a sweet, pie-baking Mom direct from the cover of "The Saturday Evening Post."

    If fault is to be found it is in overt product placement that is counter to the film's tone. In defense, the Papa Johns tie-in is motivated unlike Fedex trucks prowling streets in many films. But the inclusion of Patton Oswalt as an E-Harmony rep is an unnecessary distraction.

    Not unlike any other romantic comedy, this is a film of standard movie plot points and complications. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" soars in its heartfelt, assured and gentle execution. Given its definitive slant, your mileage may vary.
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  2. Dec 20, 2014
    9
    film is worthy just for the final "Picture" if you seen it you get it ;) .............................................................................
  3. Nov 23, 2014
    8
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty es una película que te da curiosidad saber que es lo que vendrá luego de la parte anterior, además de que es divertida y entretenida.
  4. Nov 19, 2014
    7
    This is a bit of a quirky but nonetheless enjoyable film. I especially liked the scenes in Greenland (when was the last time Greenland was in a major film?) and Iceland. The missing negative was an effective narrative device that kept my interest during the whole film. Mitty's daydreams were too frequent and predictable (and did he always have to make the audience share the dream?), theThis is a bit of a quirky but nonetheless enjoyable film. I especially liked the scenes in Greenland (when was the last time Greenland was in a major film?) and Iceland. The missing negative was an effective narrative device that kept my interest during the whole film. Mitty's daydreams were too frequent and predictable (and did he always have to make the audience share the dream?), the sparring with the evil transition manager also overdone. The movie dragged a bit in the last quarter. But I liked its message of pursuing your dreams - it was effective and thought-provoking. Heartfelt too. Expand
  5. Nov 13, 2014
    8
    "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" 10 Scale Rating: 8.0 (Great) ...

    The Good: Fantastic characterization. It is very easy to root for Walter as he seems very human and is someone we can all relate to on some level. Walter's daydreams are both poignant and amusing. I found myself wanting to see more of them. The chemistry between Stiller and Wiig was obvious and the film makes you truly
    "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" 10 Scale Rating: 8.0 (Great) ...

    The Good: Fantastic characterization. It is very easy to root for Walter as he seems very human and is someone we can all relate to on some level. Walter's daydreams are both poignant and amusing. I found myself wanting to see more of them. The chemistry between Stiller and Wiig was obvious and the film makes you truly want our hero to get the girl. After a massive buildup, I was concerned that they payoff just wouldn't be there, but I was satisfied and it was worth the wait.

    The Bad: Eventually, Walter's daydreams become less frequent and you can't help but miss them. At times, and especially early on, Walter is almost a little TOO quirky.
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  6. Nov 10, 2014
    6
    With its grand visuals and unique storytelling, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is ambitious, however, the execution is too shallow to execute its aspirations.
  7. Nov 8, 2014
    1
    In Your Face Product Placement Ruined What Could Have Been A Great Film! Sorry, but the product placement was so blatant it ruined the illusion of the story. Let's face it, unless your making a documentary all filmmaking is based on creating good illusions, like a talented magician! When a particular fast food company that serves gross food infects a story - like a flu virus - it wrecksIn Your Face Product Placement Ruined What Could Have Been A Great Film! Sorry, but the product placement was so blatant it ruined the illusion of the story. Let's face it, unless your making a documentary all filmmaking is based on creating good illusions, like a talented magician! When a particular fast food company that serves gross food infects a story - like a flu virus - it wrecks the fantasy created by the filmmakers! James Thurber would be spinning in his grave!

    Such product placement is totally unnecessary unless the producers of the film felt The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was going to be a big flop. Or, those making the film want to squeeze every last cent they can to make money by treating filmmaking like a commodity, such as toothpaste or underarm deodorant! Hey, that's a great idea, since we get to know over and over again Walter Mitty's favorite crappy fast food restaurant, why not let us know what his favorite toothpaste and underarm deodorant are, too?!! And why stop there? Let's find out his favorite type of paper towel, toilet paper, laundry detergent, car, soda, vodka, beer and on and on. I even have a new idea for a title: "The Secret Product Placement Life of Walter Mitty."

    I didn't pay $11.50 for a ticket and another $6.50 for popcorn to repeatedly watch and hear the characters talk about commercial products in the middle of a movie. The product placement in this film was not subtle and I didn't appreciate being forced to watch such nonsense!

    It's really sad filmmaking has stooped so incredibly low and that the film-going public tolerates this crap! Wow!
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  8. Oct 6, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is truly great. The idea of a guy going around the world trying to find the last picture to the famous TIME magazine and having troubles doing it is really going to keep you on the edge of your seat the visual affects to this movie are amazing. And being able to see the wonderful landscape of Iceland and Greenland [i think] over all a really good and funny movie I advise you to go see it Expand
  9. Oct 4, 2014
    5
    2.5/5★ The film shares little with the book it is based on so don't expect it to share its satire or humor but aside from that its a fun ride. Stiller plays the everyman who finally sets to find something, both in the literal and personal sense. The film is a little sappy, but its a good effort.
    Verdict: Mildly enjoyable.
  10. Oct 3, 2014
    9
    I really loved this movie. As a 23 year old attending graduate school full time knowing that I have a huge student loan debt awaiting me upon graduation, I really do hope to one day travel the world as well. Seeing Walter have the courage to simply drop everything and leave the country was refreshing and I hope to do it as well once I am able.
  11. Sep 30, 2014
    8
    What delighted me most in this film was the refined story telling through a very polished shooting and a very good soundtrack accompaniment. The positive focus was only marred by the unnecessary inclusion of the brand name products such as the anti-worker, Papa Johns. A surprisingly refreshing re-telling of the famous Thurber story for which I applaud Mr. Stiller and company for puttingWhat delighted me most in this film was the refined story telling through a very polished shooting and a very good soundtrack accompaniment. The positive focus was only marred by the unnecessary inclusion of the brand name products such as the anti-worker, Papa Johns. A surprisingly refreshing re-telling of the famous Thurber story for which I applaud Mr. Stiller and company for putting forth such an entertaining film. Expand
  12. Sep 27, 2014
    10
    My husband and I just watched "Walter Mitty". We never saw it in the theater because of the bad reviews. This I totally regret. We loved this movie! So entertaining! Ben Stiller did not get enough credit for a job well done.
  13. Sep 26, 2014
    6
    A lot of whether or not you like this film will be based on whether or not you’ve read the short story the film is based on. If you are not familiar with the original story you will probably enjoy this film a lot and think it’s a great feel good movie and be baffled as to why others didn’t like it. If you have read the short story you will probably find the film hard to get into as whileA lot of whether or not you like this film will be based on whether or not you’ve read the short story the film is based on. If you are not familiar with the original story you will probably enjoy this film a lot and think it’s a great feel good movie and be baffled as to why others didn’t like it. If you have read the short story you will probably find the film hard to get into as while it is visually great and there is some good cinematography the film deviates a lot from the source material while trying to take a simple short story and expand it into a 2 hour movie. If you are one of those people’s whose read the original story then you might want to cleanse your mind of it if you want to enjoy the cute little film. For me I’m in the middle on one end this film is entertaining and I was engaged but at the same time it was nagging at me that this was deviating and at times betraying the original story. I guess at the end of the day its more good than bad but at the same time it is kind of annoying to once again see Hollywood take a wonderful story and make it into something eh. Expand
  14. Sep 2, 2014
    6
    An exciting spectacle lead by Ben Stiller. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is strongly supported by a fine performance from Kristen Wiig and a journey like no other.
  15. Aug 24, 2014
    7
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a short story about a Man who slips into daydreams which has been made into a film adaptation. While the movie includes day dreaming sequences, it does not focus on them, but instead on Mitty's quest for negative #25.
    Pros:
    Great Cinematography. The movie looked gorgeous. Amazing Score. Every song fit the movie's story. Ben Stiller. He showed how
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a short story about a Man who slips into daydreams which has been made into a film adaptation. While the movie includes day dreaming sequences, it does not focus on them, but instead on Mitty's quest for negative #25.
    Pros:
    Great Cinematography. The movie looked gorgeous.
    Amazing Score. Every song fit the movie's story.
    Ben Stiller. He showed how diverse of an actor he is.

    Cons:
    Not loyal to the original story. While it had elements it did not focus on it.
    The Story. The story was great at first, but towards the end of the movie it just seemed to drag on with Mitty meeting Shaun and finding the negative.

    Overall I enjoyed the movie very much, despite it dragging at the end.
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  16. Jul 8, 2014
    7
    Started of really, really slow. It is a good thing that it got better as the movie went on or it would have been a really bad movie. Acting was really good by Ben Stiller as he seem to fit his role really well. Got predictable at time but was an overall average movie.
  17. Jun 29, 2014
    7
    A flawed, but very enjoyable movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty shows that Ben Stiller might have an impressive career as a director ahead of him. It's enjoyably off kilter, ambitious, and decently uplifting. The visual effects are solid, often helping to create some impressive and funny scenes. That being said, the presentation of the movie sometimes feels overly commercialized,A flawed, but very enjoyable movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty shows that Ben Stiller might have an impressive career as a director ahead of him. It's enjoyably off kilter, ambitious, and decently uplifting. The visual effects are solid, often helping to create some impressive and funny scenes. That being said, the presentation of the movie sometimes feels overly commercialized, and something about the film feels too airy and weightless. I'd still say however, that if you walk away from this movie not feeling somewhat inspired, or at least happy, that you're being way too cynical. It was too resonant and atmospheric to leave me disappointed. Expand
  18. Jun 8, 2014
    9
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has proven that BenStiller can still make good movies. Thelot was complex and intricate, and kept you wanting more. The cinematography was excellent. I cannot imagine why someone would not like this movie.
  19. Jun 1, 2014
    7
    While not every single granule of logic lines up in Ben Stiller's fifth directorial effort, "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty" still remains a visual treat that acts as more than a testament to Stiller's fine directorial powers.
  20. May 25, 2014
    8
    I loved the cinematography, It was beautiful to look at. Ben Stiller really showed his passion for photography.

    The performances were honest and sweet, the plot was touching.

    I get the feeling critics have become so cynical of Stiller that they missed maybe his defining movie so far.
  21. May 25, 2014
    9
    As many others have said on metacritic, the Metascore for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is just wrong. Its one of the best movies I have watched this year, mixing tasteful and (sometimes) subtle comedy, with a story that the majority can relate to. Even though Walters character differs near the end, it is a must see.
  22. May 23, 2014
    7
    Sweet and funny, even if it is mostly formulaic and predictable. Stiller does manage to keep the movie watchable and most importantly enjoyable throughout. Overall despite the film's slow moments and predictable plot elements, it's just nice to watch something completely uplifting and (mostly) wholesome. It's a feel good type movie that does what it sets out to do. My total score is a 7.5/10=Good.
  23. May 17, 2014
    9
    I was inspired at the end i love how it shows that even a day dreamer can live it helped me get out of a dark place in my life and it should have a higher score then it got
  24. Apr 29, 2014
    6
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was unfortunately a bit of a disappointment. It had all of the pieces in place to be one of those great movies that combine a certain innocent charm with insight and introspection to deliver a heartfelt and emotional movie that anyone can relate to. However, instead of putting that all together in a fashion that feels genuine, like The Truman Show forThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty was unfortunately a bit of a disappointment. It had all of the pieces in place to be one of those great movies that combine a certain innocent charm with insight and introspection to deliver a heartfelt and emotional movie that anyone can relate to. However, instead of putting that all together in a fashion that feels genuine, like The Truman Show for example, it just feels like it's missing something. Ben Stiller is great and Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, and Patton Oswalt (among others) do a great job in their supporting roles, albeit far shorter than they should've been. I think the big problem was Adam Scott's character. People like that are so seldom they almost don't even exist and this movie hinging on his "bullying" made it tough to relate to. I don't mind that the pace was slow either. I expected that. I didn't expect for the film to build to a moment of revelation only to end abruptly and without much to hang your hat on, so to speak. Expand
  25. Apr 29, 2014
    6
    With its grand visuals and unique storytelling, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is ambitious, however, the execution is too shallow to execute its aspirations.
  26. Apr 27, 2014
    9
    i am no big fan of ben stiller but WOW the movie completely amaze me, it is inspiring one, the characters is well made, the soundtracks are awesome, the movie is a mini masterpiece and when you end watching it you will have very good feelings i guarantee it .
    i don't know why the movie has such low metascore or how it didn't got any major awards but i definitely know it worth every second
    i am no big fan of ben stiller but WOW the movie completely amaze me, it is inspiring one, the characters is well made, the soundtracks are awesome, the movie is a mini masterpiece and when you end watching it you will have very good feelings i guarantee it .
    i don't know why the movie has such low metascore or how it didn't got any major awards but i definitely know it worth every second of watching .
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  27. Apr 26, 2014
    6
    Weird movie. Not entirely sure how I felt about it. If you just watch it for the kind of interesting adventure and forget all the other nonsense it works well enough. There were good moments independent of the rest if the film.
  28. Apr 24, 2014
    10
    Okay, so The Secret Life of Walter Mitty doesn't relate to the book at all, besides Walter's daydreams, but it's still very funny! I especially liked the fight with the Stretch Armstrong doll!
  29. Apr 22, 2014
    8
    Walter Mitty (Stiller) works for Life magazine who, following a corporate takeover, are about to publish their final print issue. Having never done much of note in his life Mitty spends most of his life daydreaming, often about ways to impress co-worker Cheryl (Wiig). When a photograph, needed for Life's final cover, goes missing Mitty sets out on an adventure that takes in Greenland,Walter Mitty (Stiller) works for Life magazine who, following a corporate takeover, are about to publish their final print issue. Having never done much of note in his life Mitty spends most of his life daydreaming, often about ways to impress co-worker Cheryl (Wiig). When a photograph, needed for Life's final cover, goes missing Mitty sets out on an adventure that takes in Greenland, Iceland and Afghanistan.

    Ben Stiller is unusually restrained in the lead role but puts in a superb performance as the socially awkward Mitty and the supporting cast are equally as well cast. The cinematography is stunning and, whilst the pacing is perhaps a little uneven at times, it rarely detracts from Mitty's feel good journey.

    You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be touched by this movie.
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  30. Apr 19, 2014
    10
    The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is a film that has to be seeing.
    Very beautiful.
    In the beginning we are in his fantasy and after we are not pretty sure that it is his reality that he live.
    It is good to see a good movie.
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. 50
    Exquisitely produced, immaculately acted, and thoroughly uninvolving, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a perfect nothing of a movie.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.