“It goes on and on and on, Heaven and Hell.”—Black Sabbath
We all go through a great deal of loss and grief in these little lives of ours. The death of a loved one is by far the most detrimental loss we go through in life. In our bereavement, we spend lengths of time working through the grieving process. This process is all very personal and different to each and every one of us. The passing of a loved one usually inspires us to evaluate our own feelings of mortality. Sometimes, we get lost in the process. Today’s feature, Walter (2015), addresses what could happen when we get lost in the stages of dealing with grief.
Eccentric Walter, Andrew J. West of TV’s The Walking Dead (2015), works at his local Indianapolis movie theater employed as the ticket taker (gatekeeper). After the traumatic death of his father from cancer when Walter was a child, he was called upon by God to aid Him with judging the eternal fate (heaven or hell) of everyone he comes in contact with. Walter sticks to a strict daily routine that is borderline obsessive compulsive as he goes about his responsibilities in an idiosyncratic fashion.
Walter lives with his over-protective but loving mother, Virginia Madsen of The Astronaut Farmer (2006), who is somewhat lost herself. Walter is content with his Heavenly duties and everyday routine until a ghost Greg, Justin Kirk of Angels in America (2003), shows up forcing Walter to confront his past with the mysterious Allie, Neve Campbell of Scream (1996), so he can move forward to a positive future.
Walter is an indie offbeat comedy drama directed by Anna Mastro of Royal Crush (2014), and is based on short film Walter (2010) from screenwriter Paul Shoulberg. The story was a bit predictable but fun nonetheless as it explores Walter’s repressed psyche and his need for routine as he realizes what is actually holding him back from leading a fulfilling life. Walter is a likeable enough character that you feel for during his journey of awakening as he deals with himself, his past, and present social awkwardness.
It was a treat to see comedian Jim Gaffigan of The Slammin’ Salmon (2009), in a small role as Walter’s boss and the appearance of the always enjoyable William H. Macy of Fargo (1996), as Walter’s unorthodox but highly astute shrink, Dr. Corman. For all of you that need a bit of romance in a movie for our leading man, yes, Walter has one of those too, with the theater popcorn popper Kendall, Leven Rambin of The Hunger Games (2012).
Walter is a nice film, well-acted with a touching story about a normal bloke trying to find himself in this crazy world. Walter is more of a character study than a typical ghost comedy. Walter has heart and a very real message. No matter how you try to plan your life, LIFE happens and you have to roll with the punches and learn as you go. Walter is nicely shot, and if you pay close attention, the colors red and blue (symbolism), are placed neatly throughout the 94 minute runtime (not anything the use of color in Dario Argento’s Suspiria  though.)
Overall Mastro has helmed a fun little flick with Walter, and West is an affable sympathetic protagonist. Act 3 delivers with a payoff and you can walk away from the film feeling content. Not groundbreaking cinema, but you could definitely watch worse on a sleepy afternoon.
Dealing with loss is universal and there are always people to talk to or those who have had it worse than you. Stay strong and always try to look at the positive in all situations, good or bad. Remember what author John Green shared with us, “Grief does not change you…it reveals you.”