'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.