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What to know: Entertaining, revealing and educational.
Recommended age 12-18
106 minutes
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REBEL IN THE RYE cover image Click to play video trailer
Rebel in the Rye, directed by Danny Small, is entertaining and educational. This film is a docu-drama that reviews the life of J.D. Salinger, author of the classic book, "Catcher in the Rye." I found this film both insightful and inspiring. His perseverance as a writer is vividly displayed throughout the film.

The film allows the audience to jump deeper into Salinger's life and what makes him tick. We experience first hand his arrogance, quirky humor and determination. I like how they show the various relationships throughout Salinger's life. Because his father (Victor Garber) was condescending, it made Salinger fight that much harder to succeed. It was the encouragement and love of his mother (Hope Davis) to whom he dedicates his highly successful novel. We see how the betrayal of his love, Oona O'Neill (Zoey Deutch) hardened him and how he felt the relationship he had with his wife (Lucy Boynton) was too overpowering and intrusive for him to grasp. These aspects definitely made me feel more connected to him as a person and understand a bit more about his strange life.

My favorite character is Salinger's college professor, Whit Burnett, played by the award winning actor, Kevin Spacey. Kevin Spacey always manages to bring the audience into the heart and soul of every character he plays. I enjoyed how, at the beginning, Whit Burnett feels like any other professor - just there to teach an educational lesson. Life lessons are what he ends up actually teaching Salinger. Throughout the film we see him develop a true friendship and bond with Salinger. It actually hurts to watch their relationship tear apart and made me want to cheer when they are able to finally mend their relationship and move forward.

Even though the war scenes are very graphic and difficult to swallow, they truly help us see what formed Salinger as an adult and why he spiraled into a recluse.

Rebel in the Rye is rated PG-13 for smoking, brief violence and sexual references. The war scenes, while minimal, are very graphic. There are people smoking throughout the film, which was appropriate for that era, but I did not feel the language or sexual references were strong enough to make it inappropriate for younger teens. I do not feel that younger kids would appreciate the life of this author, or really gain too much enjoyment for this film. So, I recommend this film for ages 14 to 18 and give it 3 out of 5 stars. It is playing now in select theaters so go check it out.

Reviewed by Tristan T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

I enjoyed watching the dramatic biography Rebel in the Rye, directed by Danny Small which examines the life of J.D. Salinger, best known for his novel, Catcher in the Rye. I have not read this book, although I know that it was very controversial when it first came out.

The film has elements of determination, a bit of arrogance, some humor and an underlying bit of inspiration. J.D. Salinger not only has inner conflicts, but he also has a conflict with his dad Sol Salinger (Victor Garber). The film stirred my curiosity and I decided to down load Catcher in the Rye and listen to it in my audible library. The film inspired me to seriously begin writing a book. We see a young, smart-mouth J.D. Salinger (Nicholas Hoult) as he experiences the horrors of World War II. The combat scenes are not graphically displayed. Salinger sees many people killed, including a good friend. He also sees a concentration camp and he is a victim of a mugging. You should know that there are scenes of drinking, partying and smoking, (common during this era), mild profanity and mild sensuality.

Strong characters include Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey), as Jerry's tough mentor. You can see that he really believes in Salinger and pushes him to "find his voice." Another character who stands out is Hope Davis as Salinger's mother. The scene when she receives a copy of his novel is very moving. One of the funniest moments in the film comes when Salinger asked Little, Brown and Company to not send him any reviews of his book. In classic comedic fashion, the very next scene shows Salinger seen reading the reviews at home. I enjoyed seeing the secluded place where Salinger pursues his writing. It is very lovely and peaceful.

I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 as well as adults. I give it an enthusiastic 5 out 5 Stars. I plan to see it again. This film comes out on September 15, 2017 so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

The life of celebrated but reclusive author, J.D. Salinger, who gained worldwide fame with the publication of his novel, "The Catcher in the Rye".
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