“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is the perfect film to end the holiday season: Unique, imaginative and inspiring, this film will leave you loving life

Cristina Solorzano

Prepare to embark on a beautifully imagined adventure that will have you celebrating the ordinary and extraordinary aspects of life.

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is the perfect holiday film that will inspire you to live in the moment. Though predictable at times, it is a stunning film that leaves you staring in awe at the beauty of the cinematography, while smiling and laughing at its many heartwarming and hilarious moments.

Adapted from a short story written by James Thurber, it follows the rather bland life of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), who finds himself retreating into elaborate fantasies played out in his head. As a negative asset manager working with film for Life magazine, Walter is completely dedicated to his work, making the rest of his life less than “noteworthy or mentionable.” But when a negative from elusive photographer Sean O’connell (Sean Penn) goes missing, Walter will embark on a journey of a lifetime that will exceed everything he has ever imagined in order to find it.

Comedic actor Ben Stiller, who also doubles as director, shows off his acting chops as the timid and awkward “dream machine” that is Walter Mitty. Walter isn’t particularly exciting or adventurous. With his days spent preoccupied with work and taking care of his eccentric sister (Kathryn Hahn) and loving mother (Shirley MacLaine), there isn’t much room for Walter’s imagination to become reality. He instead lives vicariously through his daydreams in which he tells off his asshole boss (Adam Scott) or finally wins the heart of co-worker Cheryl (Kristen Wiig).

But with Life magazine approaching its final issue before becoming completely web based, Walter’s job is in jeopardy unless he can find the missing film that is to be the final cover. With his job on the line and encouraged by Cheryl, Walter literally jumps feet first into adventure —jumping from helicopters, fighting sharks, evading volcanos and climbing across the Himalayas — Walter will embody the ABCs (adventurous, brave and creative) and delve into the unknown to find the mysterious missing photo.

Visually, this film is flawless. The spectacular landscapes will take your breath away. From gorgeous shots of the icy waters of the Greenland Sea to the endlessly curving Icelandic roads and the vast range of Himalayan mountain tops, these landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for Walter’s incredible journey.

With his traditional brand of situational comedy, Stiller offers a unique vision, blending hilariously absurd imaginations with the monotony of the real world, creating the perfect balance of heart and humor. One minute you’re watching Walter wait for his train to work, the next you’re watching as Walter jumps into a burning building, saves a three-legged dog and miraculously engineers a prosthetic leg for it–all in a five-minute time span.

All that aside, it is the comedic chemistry between Stiller and Wiig that really makes the film — the two actors play off of each other brilliantly. Their easy and natural interaction allows for some incredibly funny moments as well as some emotionally vulnerable ones. Stiller’s one-liners and facial expressions never fail to elicit laughs and Wiig is her usual charming self, offering a heartfelt performance with big comedic moments (and an awesome musical number).

While slow to start, the film climbed to incredible heights with its exceptionally envisioned plot. I loved the transition between fantasy and reality, it made for a fun film to watch and I couldn’t stop laughing. I’d give it three of four stars— it’s impossible not to love this original and just plain feel-good movie.

As photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) says, “beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” certainly doesn’t ask for it, but instead subtly charms you with a truly original and uplifting representation of life that celebrates love, courage and the unknown.