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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Review

Movies.com Critics

3.5

Dave White Profile

The good life Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    44

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    By trying to combine fantasy and romance with goofy humor, globe-trotting adventure and feel-good inspiration, Stiller has made Mitty a mixed bag of clashing tones and facile redemption.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    This is an ambitious and sometimes effective but wildly uneven adventure that plays like one extended ego trip for Stiller. It feels like a movie by focus group, struggling to find a place between genuinely creative fantasy and audience-pleasing payoff moments.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    The film has a persistent and careful sheen. It looks good. It is, in fact, preoccupied with looking good. If this sounds like faint praise, I'm afraid it is.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The New Yorker Anthony Lane

    The result may be the oddest film of the season. It boasts an array of sublime backdrops and a yearning score, but the climate of feeling is anxious and inward, encapsulated in Stiller’s darting gaze, and the movie itself keeps glancing backward, at the lost and the obsolete.

    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    Variety Peter Debruge

    Rather than channeling James Thurber’s satirical tone, Stiller plays it mostly earnest, spinning what feels like a feature-length “Just Do It” ad.

    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter David Rooney

    Audiences willing to tune in to its blend of surreal fantasy, droll comedy and poignancy will be rewarded.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The most enjoyable parts of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are his fantasies, such as one in which he stands up to his boss in a way he never would in real life.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Secret Life of Walter Mitty reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

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

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring and directed by Ben Stiller, may be based on James Thurber's short story, but it's very different from it and the original 1947 movie. It's a tween- and teen-friendly tale full of hope, with a can-do, go-big-or-go-home message that's backed by sensational special effects. Expect some swearing, including "hell" and "s--t," and some jarring scenes of conflict, though no graphic violence.

  • Families can talk about the messages in the movie. What makes Walter finally take action? Does the movie try to inspire you to do something? What holds people back from pursuing their dreams?
  • Talk about the workplace needling that goes on at Walter's office once the downsizing is announced. Is this bullying? How does Walter handle it, and why does the bully get away with it for a while?
  • If you've read the short story, how does the movie compare? What are some of the challenges of turning a book or story into a movie?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: You are your worst barrier. Get out of your own way.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Walter Mitty is tired of being too careful. So when an opportunity arises that allows him to push past his limitations and help the magazine he has loved for so long, and possibly impress the woman he likes in the process, he finally goes for it.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: A man jumps into a building, crashing through the window, and the entire structure explodes soon after from a gas leak. A man threatens another at a bar, breaking a beer bottle and threatening his opponent with the shards. A man attacks a guy with a briefcase. A shark attacks a man, its jaws snapping.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Some flirting and an unrequited crush is part of the story.

  • language false2

    Language: Some swearing, including "bull," "suck," "hell," "d--k" and "s--t."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: The film is set in the Time and Life Building in NYC, which are the headquarters of Life Magazine, so there are plenty of mentions of the publication. Also: Dell, Papa John's, Sony, Cinnabon, Careerbuilder.com, Facebook, Instagram, Heinekin, Zero attache case. It's also practically an ad for e-Harmony, which is mentioned numerous times.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some drinking at a bar; one man is totally inebriated and pilots a helicopter.

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