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  • This may be an old-fashioned bio-pic, but there's nothing terribly wrong with that. It's subject is intriguing, the story it tells is emotionally engaging and - unlike so many recent, showier bio-pics (The Imitation Game springs immediately to mind) - it doesn't play so fast and loose with the facts that you're left questioning whether it was really worth the effort. It's slickly directed and boasts a cast of extremely fine actors, among them Victor Garber, Hope Davis, Jefferson Mays and Sarah Paulson. But the two main reasons for watching are Nicholas Hoult and Kevin Spacey. Hoult gives his best performance since A Single Man, while Spacey (as Salinger's teacher and mentor) pretty much steals every scene he's in. If recent revelations result in Spacey being forever black-listed by Hollywood it will be a great shame.
  • A fascinating portrait of J.D. Salinger. My concern is that people may skip it due to the Kevin Spacey scandal. it deserves consideration.
  • After role by role, performance by performance, he demonstrate his lovely artistic force in the skin of J. D. Salinger. Not only a great performance but, in same measure, the right story. Simple, dramatic, convincing. Inspired portrait of a great writer and the art of Nicholas Hoult to propose the precise nuances of his character. A film about deep loneliness. And about the basic choice defining it.
  • Greetings again from the darkness. "Holden Caulfield is dead." So states Jerry's letter to his mentor. You likely know Jerry better as J.D. Salinger, and he wrote that while hospitalized with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after WWII. Of course, we know this proclamation is premature, as Holden Caulfield is the main character from Mr. Salinger's famous (and only) novel, "The Catcher in the Rye" … a high school literature staple for decades.

    Imagine your dream is to become a great writer, but your own father continually reminds you that "meat and cheese distribution has been good for this family." Your restlessness often works against you, and though you are hesitant to admit it, a mentor for writing and life direction is desperately needed if you are to avoid the family business. Enter Columbia professor Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey).

    This is Danny Strong's first feature film as a director, though you would surely recognize his face from his frequent acting appearances – often as a weasly character. He is also the creator of TV's "Empire" and wrote the screenplays for THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY (Parts I and II) and LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER. Strong does an admirable job in showing the commitment required to hone one's writing skills and proving "the difference in wanting to be a writer and actually being one."

    Jerome David Salinger is played well by Nicholas Hoult. His scenes with Spacey's professor are the film's best, and Hoult also shoulders the responsibility of Salinger's writing frustrations, personal life challenges, military service, and finally, his decision to become the most famous and long-lasting recluse (by comparison, Howard Hughes was an amateur).

    We learn that Burnett was instrumental in getting Salinger's first short story published, which finally gave Jerry the answer needed for a writer's most dreaded question, "Have you been published?" Quite a bit of time is devoted to his odd romantic relationship with Oona O'Neill (Eugene's daughter and the future, long-time wife to Charlie Chaplin). Zoey Deutch (daughter of Lea Thompson) plays Oona as an enigmatic lover attracted to Salinger's genius, but incapable of being patient for his career that might happen (and might not). She opts for the sure bet.

    Salinger's military service included Utah Beach on D-Day, and nearly as remarkably, his toting the tattered manuscript 'Catcher' pages throughout his tour. He returned home in 1946, and in 1951 "The Catcher in the Rye" was published. It's been referred to as the Great American novel and a rite of passage, while also being banned and derided for its whiny Holden.

    Director Strong emphasizes Salinger's turn to Zen Buddhism and his sessions with Swami Nikhilanda, as well as his evolving distrust of stalking fans and two-faced media. Support work is provided by Sarah Paulson as Salinger's salty agent, Lucy Boynton as his wife, Victor Garber as his father, and Hope Davis as his supportive mother. Just as in real life, we get nothing of Salinger's later years of solitude and isolation in New Hampshire, where he died at age 91.

    The book has sold more than 65 million copies, and continues to sell well today. In a shift from the recent documentary SALINGER by Shane Salerno, and the book "J.D. Salinger: A Life Raised High" by Kenneth Slawenski, this dramatization doesn't dig too deep, but it does allow a new generation to personify the legend. Perhaps it even paints a picture of a better/nicer man than what his real life actions showed. Regardless, the older Salinger certainly seemed to embrace the cause of "write and get nothing in return".
  • This is an interesting and involving biopic of the reclusive author of Catcher in the Rye. I found it attractively filmed and giving enough insight into his life, WW2 experiences, struggles with getting published, creative process and personal life. It's a nice change from those overly angst filled salacious biopics that focus too much on the unsavory aspects of a creative genius.

    Nicholas Hoult is watchable and does a reasonably good job in the role. He may not have been the first person one would think of since he is an English actor and quite different looking from the real person. Would have thought they would have chosen an actor with Jewish heritage.

    The supporting cast all perform well. Sarah Paulson is good as a literary agent. Kevin Spacey in one of his last roles before the scandal brought his career to a halt plays his writing teacher who helped him in the beginning. Hope every movie that is affected by scandal of one of the actors isn't shelved or not released. Too many other people's efforts would be wasted.
  • Some of Nicholas Hoult 's best work. He really gets into character, becoming someone I've never seen him be before. I've seen him take the lead in Warm Bodies, and Kill Your Friends both excellent movies (Also Jack the Giant Slayer which is OK) but this felt slightly more unique. Helping in this transformation, is Kevin Spacey who does a great job of electrifying the screen playing a man truly passionate about what he does, and a mentor to J.D. Salinger. Also like Hope Davis as Salinger's mom and wanted to point that out (and the fact that it feels like the same role she did in Captain America: Civil War)

    What I love most about this movie is how it made me interested in Catcher in the Rye. I am familiar with the book and how notorious it is among literature, but I never read it myself. Not much of a book worm. The movies portrait of the man is truly rebellious. Rebel in the Rye gives the impression that his fame comes from the idea that he was bold enough to do it first like the Ramones or Prince (More of a music geek) and in his boldness touched a generation that had not really been spoken to before. A generation that would put him on a pedestal that made the war vet uncomfortable. His choice not to publish any more I was slightly aware of, but the movie does make me very intrigued about what else may be accurate (or inaccurate) .

    Nicholas Hoult has done a great job driving this spectacular vehicle.
  • "Rebel in the Rye" (2017 release; 106 min.) brings the story of the early years of "Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger ("Jerome David, my friends call me Jerry"). As the movie opens, we see Salinger struggling in a care center. We then go "6 Years Earlier - 1939", and we get to know the young man as a college drop-out who likes to impress women--but fails. When he introduces himself as a writer to a young lade, she asks him "What have you published?", and he is speechless (he hasn't published anything--but now he forms a plan: return to college (now at Columbia) and take a Creative Writing class. By chance he ends up in Professor Burnett's class. At this point we're 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

    Couple of comments: this is the directing debut of former actor and current writer-producer (for the "Empire" TV series, among others) Danny Strong. With the credentials he has, and the tumultuous early years in Salinger's life, one (at least, I) would expect a rousing and drama-filled movie. Alas, one could be very wrong. This movie feels as if it's strictly by-the-numbers. Salinger's incredible WWII years (the man was at D Day, no less) are glossed over in a few minutes and fail to leave any gravitas. Salinger's early struggles as a writer also miss the mark. Likewise with his ups and downs in romance. British actor Nicholas "X-Men" Hoult leaves me completely unmoved as Salinger. There are a couple of plus points that I want to mention: Kevin Spacey is having a ball as the Columbia professor (and mentor) of Salinger. Zoe Deutsch is delightful in the small role as one of Salinger's early love interests. And there is a delightful original score, composed by Bear McCreary. Finally, the movie's title is an all too obvious (and awkward) attempt to synthesize "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Catcher in the Rye" into one. Truth be told, Salinger may have been many things, but a rebel? Not hardly. If you really want to learn more about Salinger, I'd readily recommend the "Salinger" documentary of a few years ago. It is miles ahead of "Rebel in the Rye".

    "Rebel in the Rye" opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Tuesday evening screening where I saw this at was attended poorly (5 people, including myself), although the gorgeous and warm Fall evening may have had something to do with that. I can't see this playing very long in the theater, so if you are curious about this movie, you're likely to check it out on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
  • A truly fascinating film and I found myself thinking "Nicholas Hoult must get an Oscar for this one" only to be so very disappointed to find out he is not even nominated! I agree with the previous reviewer who mentioned the Kevin Spacey scandal and that it probably had something to with it. People, please see this film, it will be worth your time! If you have read "Catcher in the Rye" it will give you more about the author, if you haven´t, it will give you a reason to!
  • The glamored-up remix of the life of J.D. Salinger, famously reclusive American author who gave the world „Catcher in the Rye" and, er, other writings. Salinger is played by Nicholas Hoult, one of my favorite young-ish actors who can't quite reach stardom. He's a fine actor, and has lots of screen charm but hasn't found his real breakthrough yet. At least in my opinion. Usually he's used as window dressing in trivial roles, even in serious movies. If you haven't seen Hoult's star making turn in BBC's „Skins" first season – this was ten years ago, mind you –, you probably won't even recognize or care about him. But yes, he's appeared in a string of blockbusters too, such as the three last „X-Men" (as Hank / Beast) and „Jack the Giant Slayer", or „Mad Max: Fury Road". He is often heavily disguised tho. You may also remember him from „About a Boy" (2002) but back then he was only just a boy. „Rebel's" main strength is not its historical accuracy, nor well- balanced story about the great man's life, nor going deep as its hero aspired to, but a fact that the writer-director Danny Strong bets on one strength and goes happily all in on it. The strength is this being a true actors' movie, and they truly deliver. The performances are wonderful and everything else is there to support them. I would argue they have reached drama series quality storytelling, only in shorter form, in 106 minutes. Hoult appears appropriately soulful but mentally fragile, and Kevin Spacey as the only other major character (his mentor / friend) is just as solid as you'd expect from screen veteran of his standing. Every scene Spacey's in is like a masterclass of great movie acting. If this was a project of much higher calibre – instead of premiering in Sundance this January and then disappearing quickly – we would talk about serious Oscar chances. You know how deliciously the man can be. Critics are true that the movie is ultimately pretty shallow and petty, just what Salinger himself would have tried to avoid, but it's pretty and well-acted, and makes some points about being creative and/or famous that every modern person would still benefit from considering. Such as doing something doesn't mean you're all that creative or deserve much praise. Or: true creativity emerges after working through your fears and vanity. Or also: being famous is not for everybody. In 2010's, there's been a new trend to create fictional movies about real people and/or situations. Most are mainstream (i.e, shallow), as is „Rebel in the Rye", but this doesn't reduce its power to entertain in a cheesy way. The result is likable indeed. Writing is a lonely job and "Rebel" has the power to remind us the glamorous side of it too, if only for a second.
  • 'Rebel in the Rye' is not an awful movie, it features some creat acting (Nicholas Hoult shines as the reclusive author, and Kevin Spacey and Srah Paulson bring their known quality on the table), and the screenplay is relatively well written with good pacing, but perhaps little too less dramatic edge. The film is following all the known standards and safe traits in modern biographical movies, thus it might not be the most fascinating cinematic pieces out there. Still, the movie shouldn't be dismissed that easily. Besides the wonderful acting jobs, the film manages to offer quite a nice overview from J.D. Salinger's career, what inspired him the most and what made him tick. Overall, the film is not that memorable - nice script, nice directing, good actors, but everything is just somehow too neat. Nothing we haven't already experienced with countless of other biographical movies made in the last ten or so years. In some sense, I can understand the safe approach because of the subject - legendary author whose life was as iconic as his literary output. And I didn't expect to see some controversial themes or lude details of Salinger's private life (when it comes to historical figures, this is least of my interests), but a whole, the movie felt too stale and stencil crafted. Yet, the film manages to show the screenwriter/director's obvious respect towards Salinger and with that, the film is oddly likable.

    'Rebel in the Rye' might not be the most interesting piece of visual storytelling, but if you enjoy character-driven movies with great acting, then this one is not the most boring one. Plus, you might learn something new about Salinger, and about writing in general.
  • Acquainted with the work of Salinger in the person of a single novel "The Catcher in the Rye", it is impossible to forget. Penetrating to the very depths of consciousness, generating new thoughts, ideas for self-development, than not the desk book of every teenage boy? "Holden Caulfield" Salinger has become an icon of beat writers, including the well-known Jack Kerouac (the novel had almost a magical effect on his entire work).

    And now in the movie there is a film devoted not so much to the history of the creation of the "Catcher in the Rye", but rather about Salinger himself, his views on life, the origin of his own convictions. And after viewing you begin to realize how difficult a person he was.

    Devoting his youth to a single goal - to publish in New Yorker or Story, he sought to make a greater impression on women than to be realized as a good writer. But the war changed everything.

    Nicholas Hoult is an ideal candidate for the role of Salinger. In addition to high-profile blockbusters, he also appears in the dramatic roles of low-budget projects. They are also motivated by the desire to be realized as a good actor, which is very noticeable in his expressive manner of the game, in which he and Salinger are very similar. And how the transition from the boy who went to the front, and a veteran unable to write about his savior, Holden Colfelde, is played, not a word. Sumptuously.

    Kevin Spacey played the role of Salinger's teacher, a mentor in the writer's craft. He paid so much attention to him that he inspired to write "The Catcher in the Rye", "spurred" on the realization as a writer, buying his first work - a short story.

    And yet, in some ways, I do not understand their relationship at the final stage - shaking hands and such a terrible word: "Goodbye ...", which means that they will never see again. After all, there was a bit of insanity in Salinger that a man preferred a wife with two children, a huge success, a good and loyal friend, solitude in the woods, to deal with one thing-to write for oneself. Until the end of life, but his life was very long.
  • Hoult hasn't the depth or grit to portray Salinger. His bland sweetness may be great for a rom-com but it's a disaster for the complex and shadowy character of Salinger. Spacey, on the other hand, is grippingly engaging, but his part is too small to save the film. When is the major film industry going to get over casting pretty face glamour actors in roles they cannot carry? The industry is full of lesser known, skilled, more appropriate actors who would have done a far superior job. This film could have been great, but as it is, it's flat and leaves you wanting.
  • Intermissionman_21 April 2018
    Do you remember reading the Novel "The Catcher in the Rye" by J D Salinger in High School days ?? Sure enough I dug out a Paperback copy from my little library today after seeing this Movie. A very well put together production called "Rebel in the Rye" that gives you a behind the scenes look at Mr Salinger's Life. I enjoyed the Film enough to re read the Book and my guess is that is what the Director was hoping people would do ?. The Hollywood Bells and Whistles Fancy Costumes and Music from the 30's and 40's are what you see and hear along with nice looking cast and Great As Usual Kevin Spacey who portrays Whit Burnett Salinger's mentor.
  • I haven't read "Catcher in the rye" and I'm grateful for this. I'm not saying this because it is a bad book but because it would create unrealistic expectations for this movie. Fortunately, I simply enjoyed the movie for what it was - a biopic. I've found it inspiring and even charming to some degree. It also persuaded me to buy the eBook (Catcher in the rye) which I'll start reading soon.

    If you are quite educated about Salinger, chances are that you're going to be disappointed because what's on the screen can never be as good as what's in your mind. Even if this is a movie about the author and not the book, chances are that you see Salinger in your own unique way. This is true about all authors.

    If you are not, then you can enjoy the movie. You can relax and not compare every single detail with actual facts. After I've saw the movie, I've discovered that there are many differences compared to actual recorded history and if I knew these things beforehand, I would have been frustrated. I didn't and I've enjoyed two hours of a good movie. The end.
  • dlynch84315 September 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    It's difficult for a movie to capture and display the magic of writing, and this movie proves it. The actor playing Salinger is given a pompous screenplay to work with. Salinger comes off as dogmatic and humorless, and maybe he was, to some people, but I think this would've worked better if we heard some of those magic descriptions spoken. Every one of Salinger's Nine Stories is a gem. I know there's intellectual property laws, but I saw a documentary on Charles Bukowski and we see his lines printed out on the movie screen as Bukowski speaks them. It's Salinger's art that fascinates and touches. We should see it, up there.
  • nogodnomasters16 February 2018
    Warning: Spoilers
    This is a biopic of JD Salinger, author of "Catcher in the Rye." The film starts in 1939 and follows Salinger's life through college, the war, his PTSD, and publishing battles. Nicholas Hoult did in excellent job in the title role. The film capture the essence of Salinger as well as the turning points in his life that shaped his ideas. Includes first person narration.

    The film had interesting scenes which made statements within themselves. He who which we do not speak once again nails it with his role as Whit Burnett, an early mentor.

    Guide: No sex or nudity. F-word written on mirror in restroom. Don't recall any verbal use.

    I always found fiction to be more truthful than reality- JD Salinger and not a US president.
  • Catcher in the Rye is one of the worst books I've ever read, but learning more about JD Salinger helped me to appreciate it as a piece of American literature. Seeing who Salinger was, & the struggles & triumphs he experienced, I have a newfound respect for the novel.
  • Kevin Spacey reminded me a little of Michael Caine from "Educating Rita" (1983) by the way he toughly encourages his student in an off the wall, personable, fashion as Whit Burnett. Nicholas Hoult is strong and convincing as the aspiring J.D. Salinger and the pairing delver us an engaging, at times poignant, at times painfully slow interpretation of the establishing years of the "Catcher in the Rye" author. As biopics go, it is well directed, well (enough) written and the attention to the detail from the costume and props departments gives it a certain sheen. Danny Strong manages to create a characterisation of this reclusive individual - his torrid experiences during WWII, his rather dysfunctional relationships both on a personal and social basis, and of his search for some sort of satisfaction in the face of his, ultimately, unwanted fame well. I can't swear as to the authenticity of Kenneth Slawenski's book, but this dramatisation offers a plausible seeming assessment of Salinger's formative years.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Fifty years ago I was banished from the classroom for laughing out loud while reading "Catcher in the Rye". It seemed I was the only one appreciating the humour. Likewise in the theatre there were times I was the only one laughing. JD was under-appreciated in his early writing efforts. The movie captures how tortuous it is to become a writer. It gives a good sense of where Houlden Coffield came from.

    It is a wonder that Salinger persisted in wanting to be published given the tragedies he endured from his girlfriend marrying a movie star to being mugged in the park with being in a war in between. The film captured the essence of the circumstances with strong performances from Nick Holt (as JD), Spacey (who I normally don't care for), and Zooey Deutch (as the girlfriend) making it feel one was peering into the past.

    The world of publishing was revealed and the novel was turned down (as were his early stories) yet became an ongoing success (250,000 sold annually) and JD resisted compromising his story and characters. The editors didn't find Catcher funny so I knew they didn't get the story and character.

    Salinger was a legend in his own time and the film helped understand why he became a recluse. From time to time I would read stories about the ) author and recall the incident when the high school reporter deceived him to give an interview. So now finally a movie tying it all in. It deserved a more main stream release.
  • This was a pretty good movie about JD Salinger I guess I mean I never met the guy so for all I know this movie could be super Phony but I enjoyed it and it's well done check it out and be sure to read the novel The catcher in the rye.
  • I enjoyed the movie very much, it's biography for a great writer who wrote outstanding novel
  • nourkhateb19 March 2020
    But, don't you think that he is phony too? I didn't like his character. I think he is irresponsible and self-centered.
  • bornakowski23 January 2020
    Tolkien... Movies should't be the not a factory... This is how movies are made for money...this is not an art! This is lame! #samemovie #samereview
  • Gordon-1119 January 2018
    This film tells the story of a man who becomes one of the greatest writer in America, who chooses to live as a recluse.

    His path to success is well depicted in this story, and it is engaging. I feel a bit sorry for the professor who seem not to get the recognition for being the mentor. I feel more educated about Salinger's life, now that I have watched this film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was excited and optimistic to see this, to see if these relatively unknown (to me) filmmakers would approximate anything close to a realistic portrayal of the man who bore the fictional legend. Sadly, it was a big disappointment. Admittedly I know as little about Salinger as most anyone does, but from what little I have read and learned about the person and his life, the whole film just seemed ill cast and played like a very contrived, superficial depiction of the man and his work. I would question how much research the film makers actually did, or perhaps just their sensibilities at understanding an aloof, isolated, lost soul, who is depicted a bit too pretty, perfect and dapper even in the pinnacle of his youth...not the Salinger I think anyone who really related to or understood someone deeply tortured as he would characterize him. It kind of felt like Matt Damon/pretty boy of the week doing his best Toby MacQuire (he would have actually been a better casting choice, the pre-Spiderman less Hollywood Toby we knew from The Icestorm or Pleasantville Days, that is...or perhaps even a Zach Braff circa Garden State type lead, if one must cast an up-and-coming star with socially aloof predilections). But Nicholas Hoult, whoever you are (I don't really follow current celebrity trends) are no young Salinger.

    Then there's Kevin Spacey, who, looking plump and unpolished, is still one of my least favorite actors (House of whatever, shut up, yes I know)...he's the same in every movie to me. For the first few scenes in the classroom, I actually found myself questioning if it was really Spacey indeed, for the first time in my life finding him in a persona where I didn't immediately recognize, "Oh, I'm watching Kevin Spacey being Kevin Spacey, trying to act." I'm almost certain those classroom scenes were looped (ADR) with his or another actor's voice, because mid-way through the movie Kevin's distinct lispy dialog crept back in, and suddenly I was just watching Kevin Spacey be himself again. I'm not sure who the actor was who dubbed over his voices during the first act, but I did enjoy that side of Spacey, a side where for once I forget who he was. An uneven performance? To say the least.

    Perhaps most annoyingly, Basil Exposition kept popping up...the writers/filmmakers over-use of catchwords like "phonies" and "giving' her the time" ripped from the pages of Catcher were cute the first time, not really the second time, and by the fourth or fifth repetition I wondered if they really understood anything beyond a cursory textbook, tabloid interpretation of Salinger and his life at all.

    I found myself waiting for the movie to end. Like many, this is one of my favorite books of all time, and this film attempt flopped short of any hopeful expectation.

    Perhaps this first deeply flawed attempt will serve as an impetus for better writers/filmmakers/historians/researchers to come along, and finally do justice to the man and the masterpiece that have captivated and touched lost souls across this lonely planet for so long.

    I'll still be waiting in the rye.
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