Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Adoption Movie Guide

Walter Mitty works in the photography department of LIFE Magazine. He hasn’t had much adventure in his life, but lives vicariously through his imagination. While lost in his imagination, he often “zones out” on the real world, and seems to alienate others. He is a dependable employee, though, and has been particularly valued by famed photojournalist Sean O’Connell. As LIFE Magazine prepares to release their final issue, Walter realizes that he cannot find the picture that was intended for the issue’s cover. He takes an unlikely, impromptu worldwide journey to find the photograph and along the way, finds that is able to have adventures in the real world that are greater than anything he could have imagined.

The Adoption Connection

Perhaps I’m influenced by some documentaries I’ve recently viewed. Walter Mitty is traveling the world with minimal clues looking for a hard-to-find person who has information Walter believes is vital. I think there’s an admittedly loose parallel between Walter Mitty’s search for Sean O’Connell and the searches of adoptees for their birth family or birth histories depicted in Somewhere Between, The Invisible Red Thread, and Closure. It’s not so obvious that it will jump out at many viewers, but it’s present enough to start a conversation, and it might create an unexpected emotional connection with some viewers.

One boy’s parents have separated, and it seems likely that his mother has found her next husband. We are able to see the development of a potential father-son relationship, and it does get off to a positive start.

Positive Elements

Fantasy can provide a safe escape for folks dealing with trauma (Walter’s father had died), but it can also stop someone from responding to reality. Eventually, moving from fantasy into reality can provide for more healing and growth.

One character mentions the value of enjoying a moment, rather than trying to capture it.


Walter is more or less bullied by his supervisors at work. His ultimate victory over them comes in deciding that they don’t matter to him.


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty isn’t inappropriate for kids, but it isn’t aimed at them, either. Kids might be bored by this one. I loved it; although the adoption applications are minimal, it’s one of the films that I’ve enjoyed the most from an entertainment/artistic perspective.  I’d recommend it for a date night.

Questions for Discussion

What stops you from doing the things you imagine? 

Does your imagining stop you from living the life you have now? 

Can you have both imagination and an enjoyment of your present life?

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