September 15, 2017

R: September 15th, 2017 | R: 109 minutes | R: PG-13

If you ever attended high school, you likely read -- or were at least assigned to read -- The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger's most famous work. Salinger gained a massive following after publishing Catcher when readers found that he'd captured them within the Holden Caulfield character.

The fandom eventually became so extreme that Salinger bought a house in the woods and built a fence around it; something I've wanted to do for ages.

Rebel in the Rye covers Salinger's rich legacy and the adversity he faced along the way. Jerome David Salinger (Nicholas Hoult), the disappointment of his father's (Victor Garber) eye, floundered a long time -- dropping out of NYU and Ursinus -- before deciding to study at Columbia. Against his father's wishes, his mother, Marie (Hope Davis) gave the final word and Jerry got his wish, going to school to be a writer.

In that writing class, he would meet one of the greatest influences of his life, Professor Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey) who also happened to be an editor at Story magazine. Butting heads at first, the two become fast friends when Burnett recognized the true talent beneath Salinger's cocky exterior.

Turning in story after story to both Burnett and different publications -- specifically the New Yorker -- Jerry continued to face rejection. His agent, the agent he would have until he retired, Dorothy (Sarah Paulson) continuously reminded him that being published was everything.

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Rating: 2 out of 5

Katie Katie (Contributor) is a cinephile and Chicago native who has been reviewing film for nearly a decade. Her heroes include Roger Ebert and Jay Sherman -- it stinks!
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How do you portrait one of the most mysterious and private lives post-success as a generic, cookie cutter biopic? REBEL IN THE RYE's biggest flaw is not being dull as dirt, it is failing to properly capture J. D. Salinger's (a terribly miscast Nicholas Hoult) creative process in writing his most successful work, The Catcher in the Rye. Director/Writer Danny Strong's script is so ineptly shallow that it makes Holden Caulfield look like an afterthought, a bearing in Salinger's mind in the middle of a tonally inconsistent mess.

That is not to say the film did not have its highs, like Kevin Spacey's ever-brilliant performance, and rising star Zoey Deutch's distinctive rendition of Oona O’Neill. Among the rest of the cast, Sarah Paulson and Hope Davis feel criminally underused. The score and production design are also silver linings, making the film engaging when the pictures and words seen and said on-screen are not.

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Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Gerardo Gerardo (Contributor) is a film student living in Philadelphia. He usually prefers independent and classic films, but he will watch anything in theaters.
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