Shane Salerno’s Salinger is a two hour account of infamous writer and recluse J.D. Salinger. It explores his life during World War II and thereafter. There isn’t much in this film that you couldn’t read off of Wikipedia. One of the few surprising things I did learn about J.D. Salinger is that most of the women he was interested in were between the ages of 14 and 17, for a 30 year old man, that’s a LITTLE young. The film presents his strangely semi-pedophiliac relationships as a coping mechanism for losing his innocence in the war, which I don’t buy for a second. He wanted, no, needed a taste of this innocence in order to hone in on his characterization of Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye or any of his characters who clearly show a deterioration of innocence, yeah ok. I never particularly liked Holden Caulfield, I always thought of him as a self-important twat, so it’s nice to see that all my disdain should really be directed towards J.D. Salinger since Holden is a spitting image of him. My contempt for Salinger grew even more when he married Claire Douglas, and decided to lock himself in a bunker for weeks leaving all the responsibilities of raising children and keeping a home to her. Dude’s a pig.
Formally, the film is alright. It has big Hollywood stars like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, and Judd Apatow, who merely give opinions on the greatness of Salinger to keep the general masses’ interest piqued. Also, the film has famous writers like John Guare, and Tom Wolfe, to commentate on his life and work, which gave it an interesting perspective. The thing that got me the most was the music! My god the music! It was as if it were lifted from an early 2000’s Morgan Freeman crime thriller! Looking at composer Lorne Balfe’s IMDB, it certainly makes sense why I felt that way during the film.
Overall, if you’re a huge J.D. Salinger fan, and can’t get enough of people praising him and his works, go check out this film. Oh yeah, and they’re publishing some of his hidden works in 2015 and 2020 (that’s how the film presented this information, abruptly at the end).
Salinger opens today in Philly area theaters.
Author: C.S. O’Brien
C.S. O’Brien is a graduate from Temple University for Communications and Theater with a concentration in Film and Media Arts. With his work, he feels the need to call attention to inequalities within gender and sexuality. Through these works he hopes to open the collective consciousness of our highly patriarchal society.