Critic Reviews



Based on 30 critic reviews provided by
The journey of J.D. Salinger from young wiseacre to world-celebrated author and notorious recluse is absorbingly traced in Danny Strong’s Rebel in the Rye.
There seems to be something missing; his life was an enigmatic puzzle and Strong hasn’t found all the pieces. It doesn’t help that his visual style is flat and the narrative is conventional enough.
Though this telling has more than its share of well-worn story beats that Salinger’s hero Holden Caulfield might accuse of being phoney, there are enough occasional insights into the creative process, as well as juicy tidbits about the secretive Salinger, to make this a very agreeable, if at times shallow, watch.
You won’t find much new light shed on the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye in writer-director Danny Strong’s polished but cliché-festooned biopic Rebel in the Rye.
Despite the focus on such a fertile period, it suffers from a meandering narrative and a jarring pace, particularly as it pushes on into his later years without bothering to age star Nicholas Hoult in the slightest.
Given the public's undying curiosity about the literary star who rejected fame, it's surprising he hasn't been the subject of more films. Rebel in the Rye shows how hard it is to satisfyingly pull that enigmatic man out of his hiding place.
The Playlist
The worst aspect of ‘Rebel’ is that Strong seems to have no vision as a filmmaker. The movie thinks it’s throwing in some wise words about the art of writing, but they are superficial at best.
While Rebel in the Rye isn’t quite as bad as its pile-of-bricks-clunky title suggests, it’s both simple- and literal-minded, less concerned with Salinger’s consciousness or sensibility than with his ostensible ontological status as a Tortured Creative Giant.
Slant Magazine
The whole affair suggests dramatic Tetris, and it leeches the artist and his process of any mystery.
Most great-author biopics are just faintly dull and unnecessary. Rebel In The Rye, true to its ridiculous title, is proudly, even aggressively hackneyed.

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