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The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013)

tomatometer

50

Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 175
Fresh: 88 | Rotten: 87

It doesn't lack for ambition, but The Secret Life of Walter Mitty fails to back up its grand designs with enough substance to anchor the spectacle.

42

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 22

It doesn't lack for ambition, but The Secret Life of Walter Mitty fails to back up its grand designs with enough substance to anchor the spectacle.

audience

72

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 72,926

My Rating

Movie Info

Ben Stiller directs and stars in THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, James Thurber's classic story of a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker (Kristen Wiig) are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. (c) Fox

PG,

Drama, Action & Adventure, Comedy

Steve Conrad

Apr 15, 2014

$58.2M

20th Century Fox - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (175) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (88) | Rotten (87) | DVD (1)

This is one of the more disappointing efforts of the holiday movie season.

January 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Richard Roeper.com
Richard Roeper.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stiller's attempt to braid together introspection and humor kept me engaged and curious, even when I wasn't quite sure what he was setting out to do.

January 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stiller's sensibility creates a movie that's smarter than you think it will be. Kind of like Walter Mitty himself.

December 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sometimes you see failed films and think, well, they tried for this or that but couldn't pull it off. After seeing Ben Stiller's version of the venerable James Thurber story, I don't know what the film was trying for.

December 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It has little narrative interest and requires that the director latch onto a very specific airy tone of whimsy, lest the whole souffle collapse.

December 26, 2013 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Painstakingly stylish, this is Stiller's most ambitious directorial work to date but also his most cloying.

December 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Steve Conrad's script is a jumbled farce, misfiring on comedic executions and inserting beats that have no real relevance to the story.

July 6, 2014 Full Review Source: AwardsCircuit.com
AwardsCircuit.com

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is one charming film to see, and there's nothing wrong with a feel-good movie that makes you feel good about liking it.

April 28, 2014 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Ignore the liberties the film takes with the original (something the 1947 Danny Kaye movie also did, much to Thurber's annoyance), and this version proves to be a briskly entertaining, glossily photographed, globe-trotting romp,

April 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

A good-natured bit of escapist fluff that relies a bit too much on whiz-bang special effects.

April 23, 2014 Full Review Source: Columbus Alive
Columbus Alive

Somehow, out of a no-win situation, Stiller manages to make a likable movie that entertains and also provides a little get-out-of-the-basement inspiration.

April 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Mitty doodles and dawdles through the world, swept away by momentary bursts of special-effects fantasy while his life is changed by the presence of a cake made by his mother.

April 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Newcity
Newcity

Big budget films that are actually about something are so rare this one's worth checking out just for novelty value alone.

February 13, 2014 Full Review Source: The Vine
The Vine

A charmer with a good heart and a healthy dose of unrealism.

February 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

It still has a good amount of heart to it, particularly from the delightful Wiig who somehow manages to create an interesting and empathetic character out of thin material.

February 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Dark Horizons
Dark Horizons

Of course Stiller takes many liberties with Thurber's old chestnut, but there is a sense that its theme of yearning really means something to him.

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: SF Weekly
SF Weekly

...a superior comedy/drama that's often much more profound than its marketing materials may have indicated.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Inspiring seize-the-day tale with some peril and flirting.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a disappointment, an often confusing and silly contrivance of an unbecoming-of-age comedy based on Thurber's literary work (adapted into a 1947 vehicle for star Danny Kaye.)

January 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Daily Herald (IL)
Daily Herald (IL)

Walter Mitty has a big heart, and I like it for that. But this is definitely a case where a little simpler would have been a lot better overall.

January 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

The remake is straightforward, with fewer secrets, more sentiment and it isn't as funny

January 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Impulse Gamer
Impulse Gamer

The cinematography is exceptional - if only the acting and script were on that level.

January 8, 2014 Full Review Source: jackiekcooper.com
jackiekcooper.com

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' is not the old James Thurber short story brought to the big screen. It's important to make that clear.

January 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a Mood Indigo for the masses, a sort of cinematic gateway drug that plays around with art film concepts for audiences who don't necessarily want to watch an art film.

January 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Crikey

Iceland deserves an apology: The utter phoniness here is disrespectful to the natural splendor of that island nation's locations, which provide the film with its only moments of distinction.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Audience Reviews for The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the Fifth film Ben Stiller has directed and is by far his best to date. His version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a million miles away from the original Danny Kaye version and is all the better for it. It's not perfect, some of the 'Daydreams' are better than others, some probably shouldn't have made the cut at all but most are dazzling and well worth making a film about. The overall message is a little stretched and overcooked at times but the final conclusion more than makes up for this. Visually it is stunning, even when it's not a CGI dream the shots are beautifully filtered and well composed. I have a few niggles about it, the over obvious corporate bad guys, the beard hate and mixed messages when it comes to measuring one's success but it's everything a big movie of this nature should be, thoroughly entertaining.

http://cinephilecrocodile.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-dir-ben.html
July 8, 2014
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Enjoyable drama comedy, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a well crafted film, that I felt was well acted and paced and Ben Stiller was terrific here, and he also directs. Although the film is a bit slow, the tone and story is quite good, and I was surprised at how good the film is. Ben Stiller does some fine work here, and he is more than able to craft something a bit more dramatic in tone than his previous works such as Tropic Thunder and Zoolander. The film is entertaining for what it is, and it's a film that really shows off Stiller's directorial talents. With that being said, I'm an anxious to see what he'll make next, as the film is engaging, well acted and directed. The film does have a few weaker moments that could have been improved upon, but for the most part, it's a film that is well worth your time if you're looking for an effective drama. What I enjoyed the most about the film was of course, Ben Stiller's performance, and I thought he handled the dramatic element perfectly, and he shows off his range as an actor, as he opts for a more serious affair than his usual output. I really enjoy Ben Stiller, loved most of his comedies, and it's always refreshing to me to see a comedic actor attempt something more serious, and it's always a treat when a genre actor like Ben Stiller who is more famous for comedies step out of his comfort zone, and attempt something quite different than what we are used to. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is not a great movie, but it's still an accomplished drama for what it does, and with an actor like Stiller acting and directing, we get something quite good and unique as well.
June 30, 2014
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

A feel-good film full of charm and joy. The narrative may not have much to offer, but your chest warms as the credits begin to roll.
June 7, 2014
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

Stiller's Walter Mitty isn't so much about escapist daydreaming as it is an underdog fable about following your dream and nice guys finally finishing first. Mitty overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles in a quest for a photo negative, and in a much larger sense, a quest for recognition and redemption. As far as Stiller's directing and starring roles, I think I liked this one the most, although for sheer laughs Zoolander is hard to beat. This kind of role is becoming a signature of Stiller's: a downtrodden loveable loser who must overcome the odds to show the world he's up to the task.

The other actors are good, but not really outstanding. Kristen Wiig, as Stiller's love interest, is more than competent but it doesn't compare to her Bridesmaids role. She is light and natural: very likeable. There's also a villain, an over-the-top caricature played by Adam Scott-who was also great in Stepbrothers.

As others has stated, the cinematography is breathtaking and one of the highlights of the movie. If you've never wanted to visit Iceland prior to watching Walter Mitty, you will now. Even remote Afghanistan complete with a craggy-faced Sean Penn is appealing. Penn, by the way, owns his role as the reclusive photographer and key to Mitty's success.

One accurate adjective that describes this movie is tasteful. Stiller never stoops to sophomoric humor, and the action never takes any wrong turns. The film will seem disjointed if you're expecting a faithful version of Thurber's original story, but I wasn't. When it's over, you'll feel exhilarated and satisfied because some justice still exists. It may be a fable and probably unrealistic, but isn't this why most of us watch movies in the first place.
June 3, 2014
Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

    1. Trawler Captain: Don't fear the por-pose! Walter: It's not a por-pose!
    – Submitted by Andy G (30 days ago)
    1. Sean O'Connell: Beautiful things don't ask for attention.
    – Submitted by Solomon H (4 months ago)
    1. Sean O'Connell: Beautiful things don't ask for attention.
    – Submitted by Solomon H (4 months ago)
    1. Sean O'Connell: Sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.
    2. Walter Mitty: Stay in it?
    3. Sean O'Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.
    – Submitted by Laurice Nicole V (4 months ago)
    1. Cheryl Melhoff: Strong little man. Walter thanks. No that's what the phrase means.
    – Submitted by Melody B (5 months ago)
    1. Walter Mitty: 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.
    – Submitted by Igor M (6 months ago)
View all quotes (12)

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Foreign Titles

  • Das erstaunliche Leben des Walter Mitty (DE)
  • La Vie rźvée de Walter Mitty (FR)
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