Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 120 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 13+. Teenagers are the prime demographic for J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye,” and for the most part this documentary about his life will work for young teens and older. There are some recreations of war images, some smoking, and some discussion of Salinger’s weird—but not necessarily sexual—relationships with young women, but thematically, this is all the same stuff that exists in his books.
Frustratingly exploitative, ‘Salinger’ doesn’t do much but prod at the famed writer’s legacy. It has a few points of interest, but the biggest one—that we can expect more of Salinger’s work to be published in coming years—feels more like a sales ploy than homage.
By Roxana Hadadi
There are few books as divisive as “The Catcher in the Rye,” I think. For teenagers, it’s gospel; for adults, it’s drivel—or switch those reactions, and I think you would still be speaking truth. Ultimately, in no way is it a book that inspires shrugs. But that “meh” quality is exactly what defines director Shane Salerno’s documentary on the author, “Salinger.” It feels simultaneously bombastic and underwhelming, making too much of some moments of Salinger’s life but glazing over the rest. It’s not the best, at all.