Unprecedented Look at the Private Life Of J.D. Salinger
“Salinger” is an intense and educational look into the reclusive life of J.D. Salinger. Salinger is known for his novel “Catcher in the Rye” that continues to influence our culture greatly to this day. He took rejection after rejection to get his works published in the New York Times, until he finally had his breakthrough. But becoming an overnight success doesn’t suit everyone. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven D. says, "This documentary has inspired me to read “Catcher in the Rye” and many of his other works because he seems like such a profound yet tortured writer." See the rest of her review below.
Reviewed by Raven D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Video review available here: (tba)
I think this film is incredible. Salinger was such an influential writer, but was so much of a perfectionist in everything that he did so if anyone disagreed with his stories he would discontinue speaking to them. He had his own personal issues that he worked out through his writing, so when he published his stories he was really putting the most hidden parts of himself out there. When he went away to war it really changed them. The amount of death that he saw was enough to make any sane person crazy, but Salinger was already a little strange to begin with. I love the way this documentary conducts interviews with many different people that knew Salinger throughout the years. It was interesting to see how so many of them hadn’t had any contact with him for decades because he would end relationships with everyone so quickly and abruptly. He even replaced his own family with “The Glass Family” which is a series of books he wrote. This film shows footage and pictures of his life, and even includes never before seen images of Salinger in WWII which is very interesting to see. The soundtrack in this film is wonderful because it makes certain scenes so much more intense. There are fantastic cuts and edits done to enhance the emotions and overall this is a very well done film.
I think it was very interesting to see how Salinger had an obsession with innocence. He had many different girlfriends and wives, all of them ranging from 16-20. He always put his work before anything else which had a strain on his affairs, so he never kept the same love interest for long. He was also very conflicted on his works. He wanted so badly to share them, but in doing so he risked putting his inner turmoil out there. When he published “Catcher in the Rye” he thought that here he was, having these thoughts and writing these things that no one had ever imagined before. But when the entire nation had the response “oh my God, someone finally understands how I feel!” Salinger was very shocked. He referred to his characters as if they were real people and he lived more in his stories than he did in reality. This documentary has inspired me to read “Catcher in the Rye” and many of his other works because he seems like such a profound yet tortured writer. I am very pleased to know that after his passing, he left his wishes for his writings. In 2015 his “Glass Family” books will begin to be released, along with some of his other hidden works.
This film is really a conversation about this mans life, so I think that needs to be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not this film is for you. It also has some very powerful and intense imagery from World War II which is definitely not something that everyone can handle. I recommend this film for ages 16+ unless you are used to more mature topics and documentaries. “Salinger” is entertaining, heartfelt, intellectual and insightful to the hidden world of this American writer. Overall I give “Salinger” 5 out of 5 stars so be sure to check it out in select theaters near you.
Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions