One of the things that I love about Ben Stiller’s films – or at least the few that I’ve seen – is they celebrate the underdog and are funny and even moralistic without being too preachy.
That’s also the case with, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” a lovely film.
As I was sitting in the movie theater watching it just a short time ago on this Saturday, December 28, 2013, I found it interesting and ironic that it comes as federal unemployment benefits are running out for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
When people lose their jobs, many of us think that they just weren’t good enough; they were deficient or somehow unworthy in some way. That’s why we think they’ve been kicked to the curb. Today, even people are disposable. Nothing says so as decisively as a pink slip.
It causes people to reassess themselves and their lives and ask, “What did I do wrong?” “What should I have done differently? and “Why has this happened to me?”
For me, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is really about the importance of “the little guy.” I won’t give away the plot, but director and star Ben Stiller beautifully adapts James Thurber’s fantasy, that’s filled with action, adventure and romance, and he makes it contemporary and relevant.
The film suggests that every life, no matter how insignificant or dare I say boring, is important. So many people need to see this film right now. The cinematography and art direction are gorgeous and it’s a wonderfully artful film.
Again, Stiller doesn’t whack you over the head with meaning. Like all art, this film requires you to do some of your own thinking. You must fill in some blanks. Surely, that's one of the reasons why this film hasn't gotten rave reviews.
I hope that Stiller continues to make this kind of film; one that captures the imagination and lifts your spirit in this tough time – even if only for a couple of hours.