Friday, May 9, 2014

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (2013)

This film came and went without much fanfare, and was dismissed by a lot of critics as being too much of a Hallmark commercial sentimentality, as well as having way to much commercial product placement to boot. All that may be true, but in this particular case I am one of the suckers who was manipulated and liked it.

The trendy way to go in film, the popular and critically lauded approach, is the one where everything is dower, where terrible things happen, where people suffer and die. That is “grown-up” drama. Films that dare to be positive, that have an inspiring message are seen as being too Pollyanna. While that may be too syrupy or saccharine in most cases, Ben Stiller has pulled off a good balance in “Walter Mitty” in my opinion.

Sure, there are moments when one wonders where Mitty is getting all the money to do his globetrotting, or worrying that he is trading in unhealthy daydreaming for unhealthy debt, but the message of the film outweighs the concerns. This is a poetic inspirational challenge to a society that is addicted to fantasy and escapism in the form of technology and alternate social networks. A challenge to lay aside that escapism and actually live life. Life is a wonderful opportunity we have been given in an often beautiful world and it is a tragedy when we squander it by preferring dreams, by crafting a fake identity in a fantasy world where we are the stars of our own internet reality show that no one cares to watch.

Now turn your computer off, lay down your phone and go live a little.

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