The Secret Life of Walter Mitty…and You

Posted: June 19, 2014 by jperritt in Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Tags: , , , ,

secret_life_of_walter_mitty_ver6The first time I saw the trailer to this film I was very impressed.  It was a movie that was on my “to-watch” list (not that I have an excel spreadsheet or anything).  However, I heard some mixed reviews from some trusted critics, so I put this film off a while.  But, I finally got around to watching it and I really liked it.

Yes, it is on the quirky side.  Yes, it may be just a little too weird for some of you.  But, if you watch it with any level of honesty, you’ll realize it’s a film about you.  To put it another way, you’re weird.  I’m not trying to hurt your feelings or get your day started off on the wrong foot, but you are a little strange.  Please don’t skip to another blog or run and grab the tissues just yet, hang on and I’ll explain.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is about a quiet, “nobody” who dreams of being somebody.  Walter [Ben Stiller – who also directed the film] is an average guy who often has extraordinary fantasies of courage and success.  However, his job is threatened and he embarks on an adventure that blends fantasy and reality.  You see, the film gives us glimpses into Walter’s head.  Without the screen going black or employing some cinematic visuals that fade into a dream, we are seamlessly carried off into Walter’s fantasies.  Because of this, the viewer often wonders if this is reality or simply one of Walter’s crazy dreams.

Now, back to the part where I called you weird.  If you took offense to the statement, let me ask you this question, would you like for someone to get into your head for a week?  Would you like it if someone could record all of your thoughts and play them for your family and friends?  I think the answer for most of us would be a loud, NO!  Why?  Well, chances are, most of our thoughts are sinful.  After all, our heart is poisoned with sin and we, therefore, end up thinking a lot of things we shouldn’t (see the Sermon on the Mount).

But, what Walter Mitty showed us was that fantasies are normal.  Yes, the movie may have seemed a little too weird, but it captured similar fantasies that are rolling around in your mind.  Who hasn’t had fantasies about being a hero?  Telling off the bully in their life? Or, saying just the right thing at the right moment?  Most of us have.

In fact, I would say that you’re not weird if you have fantasies, I would say you’re weird if you don’t.  Fantasies are typically favorable thoughts.  We rarely have fantasies that end bad for us, do we?  I mean, how many of you have fantasies where you are the villain and someone else is the hero?  Fantasies tell us something is broken.  In Walter’s life, he was the “loser”.  He didn’t have a lot to offer – just think of his conversation with the e-harmony guy.  However, he compensated this lack, by dreaming scenarios that righted the wrongs.  Scenarios that brought about justice, that manifested romance, and that ensured a “happily ever after” ending.

The reason we have fantasies, like Walter, is because this life isn’t what it should be.  Justice is flawed, love is imperfect, we don’t say the right things all the time, people are bullies, there is sadness, the list goes on and on.  Therefore, many of us imagine a life that is perfect, a life without sadness or injustice.  A life that seems to only exist in our minds.  The truth for the Christian, however, is that these “fantasies” about perfect justice, love, and peace are not things that solely exist in our minds.

  1. K.M.Haynes says:

    jperritt — Excellent analysis of the modern Mitty movie. I loved it — thought the fuzziness between real/fantasy in Walter’s mind was portrayed very well, and a careful watching made it clear when the fantasies slowly ended and the adventures you are seeing on the screen are actually happening! Very clever!
    And I also connected with Walter in the movie — we’ve all been there, dreaming ourselves into more “glory” than we deserve. So it was very fulfilling to see Walter’s dreaming become reality for him.
    AND, agree that we are all “weird” that way, and the world is very lucky my sinful thoughts are not being shown on a screen anywhere — YIKES!!

  2. […] too long ago I shared some thoughts about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this film.  I […]

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