An unprecedented look inside the private world of J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye.

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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An unprecedented look inside the private world of J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Uncover the mystery. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing war images, thematic elements and smoking | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

5 September 2013 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Gåtan J. D. Salinger  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$86,956 (USA) (6 September 2013)

Gross:

$575,775 (USA) (11 October 2013)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shows the last ever photographs of J. D. Salinger See more »

Goofs

Oona O'Neill is stated to have dated Orson Welles before she met J.D. Salinger. This is incorrect, and it is unlikely that they met more than once if they knew each other at all. See more »

Connections

Features Today (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

The great writer remains a mystery.
1 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

". . . I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all." Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye

No writer in the 20th century cultivated such an obsessive privacy as J. D. Salinger. As famed as his Catcher in the Rye was, he was equally jealous of his privacy. Shane Salerno's documentary "Salinger" does a modest job highlighting his almost hermit life in New England. However, the above quote reveals as much as any documentary could hope to do the innocence and privacy of Salinger's iconic character and maybe himself.

Otherwise, this doc is occasionally and unintentionally hilarious when it uses the same still photos of Salinger over and over for want of an extant variety. A few of the talking heads are actors who may have no real cred to talk about the author (Martin Sheen, Phillip Seymour Hoffman); at other times the real deals like author and friend A.E. Hotchner and noted writer Gore Vidal comment with insight.

The women such as Joyce Maynard, who lived with him, and his daughter Margaret provide the best insight into his emotional and physical isolation. Beyond these first-hand recollections, it's hard for director Shane Salerno to shake anything new from the Salinger tree of life. The Internet holds the same information.

Then there's the heavy-handed music, most amusingly prominent in the final sequence that reveals what the Internet already has disclosed: Salinger, who died in 2010 at 91, authorized several original works to be released between 2015 and 2020. This information is about the only new material in the documentary.

In the end, Salinger himself is in charge. Most of the commentary is broad and speculative, lacking the inside information the world clamors for. He is as rebellious and disdainful of phoniness as Holden Caulfield. Actually, he probably is Caulfield--I fit right in with the other clueless commentators.

J.D. Salinger remains an enigma and a powerful one at that: "If three people used something I wrote in this fashion, I'd be very troubled by it." Playwright John Guare on crimes by Catcher in the Rye devotees.


10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Cry me a river, Salinger.... grigory-never-was-here
Salinger is a rabbit hole to some scary sh*t VikingRaider2
Excellent documentary. willard86
Invasion of privacy? user-426-744217
never-before-seen color photo of J. D. Salinger from Newsweek chriskubica
How widely has the movie been released? rmansfield
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