The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Directed by Ben Stiller
I caught this film at the AARP Film Festival, complete with a Q&A session with Ben Stiller, and found it absolutely charming.
Ben Stiller plays Walter Mitty, the reserved manager of photographer negatives at Life Magazine, who longs to ask out fellow coworker, Cheryl Melhoff, played by Kristin Wiig, but who can only seem to act on his desires in frequent bouts of daydreams. Mitty's quiet routine is shaken up, when a change management specialist, played by Adam Scott, swoops in and begins shuttering down the printed version of Life magazine in favor of an internet replacement, and the cover photograph negative for the last issue goes missing.
The film has comedic elements, and there are sequences that had my significant other and I laughing out loud; however, it has a more sincere "live life to its fullest" message running at its core, making the film feel more substantial than other comedies.
There is gorgeous cinematography. Between Walter Mitty's daydreams and his hopping from country to country, in hopes of hunting down explorer/photographer, Sean O'Conell, played by Sean Penn, it's a visual feast, complete with nicely mixed-in digital effects.
The acting is well-done, all around. Kristin Wiig, in particular stuck out for making a potentially forgettable love-interest character, quirky and personable.
I was not expecting much going in, but thought this family-friendly film delivered.
I caught an advanced screening of this and liked it. Sharp writing, especially the dialogue. Fantastic acting by and chemistry of the two leads Miles Teller playing Sutter Keely and Shailene Woodley playing Aimee Finicky.
There's two themes to the movie. First is the love story between Miles and Aimee, two high schoolers, who have different personalities and run in different circles, but who just work together. This portion sparkled. The dialogue and interactions between the two are really what sells the movie - fun and natural.
The second is Miles' coming-of-age story. He's gone most of his childhood growing up without his father and the conflict of the movie comes from when he and Aimee get to meet his father. And this area does not quite work as well. Miles is a very likeable character, witty, charming and sensitive throughout entire front half of the movie, so when the conflict arises, it feels a bit abrupt and shallow. i.e. the resolution feel more like working through a minor spat, rather than addressing any deeper or larger issues. Which is slightly sad, because it is quite clear that the writers really put a lot of thought and effort into the love story theme and had they put as much effort into the coming-of-age portion, this would have been quite an rich and interesting film.
But as it is, it's still quite an enjoyable film, one that I would recommend seeing.
Wow. Characters true to human emotion. Especially impressive was the acting of Katie Jarvis, who plays a 15 yr old female, Mia, growing up in a poor neighborhood, raised by a selfish mother who just wants to party. Starved of any positive encouragement, she fronts a tough persona to every one: her mother, her younger sister, neighborhood peers. But privately, she enjoys dancing to hip-hop and likes animals, at one point, trying to set free a captured horse.
Michael Fassbender plays a character who dates Mia's mother and tries his best to exert a positive influence on all 3 female characters. He shows special attention to Mia, encouraging her dancing talents, but does not act as responsible, emotionally mature adult and things lead to the inevitable.
Some of the turns are a bit predictable (c'mon dancing auditions?), but the emotional impact is still there. I'll have to check out more of Andrea Arnold's films.