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Salinger Review Critics


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Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 20

    out of 100

    Village Voice Alan Scherstuhl

    What the movie gets hilariously, howlingly wrong is the idea that a life like Salinger's—so extraordinary, yet so willfully humdrum—could somehow be captured by the most shopworn of cinematic techniques.

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  • 30

    out of 100

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    Salinger, directed by Mr. Salerno, is less a work of cinema than the byproduct of its own publicity campaign.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    Variety Andrew Barker

    It’s difficult to get past the film’s restless, ill-fittingly bombastic style.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    At two hours and nine minutes, Salinger is at least 40 minutes too long, suffering, just like the book, from its creators' obsessive zeal. Only here, you can't page ahead to the next chapter.

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  • 60

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Salerno, as if he's unsure of what he's got, goes to great lengths to heighten the drama with crisp editing, a strong score, frequent sound effects and snappy visuals.

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  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Stephen Farber

    Although it is overlong, it manages to be fascinating for much of its running time. But it also disappoints on many counts, providing another example of hype outpacing actual achievement -- a syndrome that Salinger himself would probably have deplored.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Insightful gems are unearthed throughout the flawed but engrossing Salinger,a much-anticipated documentary about the author of The Catcher in the Rye.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    Despite its considerable flaws, Salinger is a valuable and engrossing biography of the author.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Fascinating but heavy-handed docu has some intense scenes.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this documentary about elusive, mysterious writer J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye) covers some parts of his life -- mainly his wartime experiences and his dalliances and marriages -- that may be too mature or intense for tweens and younger. Some historical footage filmed during the liberation of the Nazis' concentration camps includes shots of charred, piled-up bodies; there's also some frank discussion about the author's attraction to very young women (including teens). There's talk of drinking and some era-accurate smoking. Note: Additional footage was added to the film after our review was published; that footage has not been reviewed by our staff.

  • Families can talk about Salinger's reclusive ways. Were they born out of a need to distance himself from his fame and intrusive fans and watchers, or could it partially be a way to make himself even more esteemed?
  • Salinger appears to have been attracted to teenagers, even when he was old enough to be their father or even grandfather. Parents, ask your teens: How do these types of relationships break boundaries?
  • Do you think all documentaries are 100% factual? How can you tell? Is it the filmmaker's responsibility to tell nothing but the truth, or are some exceptions possible? Why or why not?
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The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: One theme/take-away of the movie is that persistence pays off when combined with talent and hard work.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: J.D. Salinger was undoubtedly determined to write and, at least according to the documentary, he wrote for the act of writing itself, not for money or glory.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Graphic, possibly disturbing footage of battles fought during World War II, some brutal and bloody. Some scenes include footage shot during the liberation of Nazi camps; the charred remains of prisoners burned alive are shown, as well as heaps of dead bodies.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Nothing graphic is shown, but there's plenty of discussion about Salinger's romances and flirtations with very young women, one as young as 14.

  • language false0

    Language: One use of "goddamn."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Signage and labels are seen or mentioned, but in a historical context (Pinto, BMW, Bonwit Teller, Coca-Cola, New Yorker, Collier, Time, Cosmopolitan).

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Talk of drinking; smoking is shown (accurate for Salinger's era).