“Rebel in the Rye” – the Eternal adolescent

Photo: Métropole Films
“Rebel in the Rye” rests on the shoulders of this engaging Nicholas Hoult, who performs honorably of his task.

Published in 1951, The catcher hearts of J. D. Salinger has been the effect of a bomb on the literary world with its young narrator outspoken, telling his flight to New York three days before Christmas. Still regarded as the novel’s iconic on adolescence, the book occupies a place of choice in popular culture — there are more winks to this work in film, television, music.


Novel bedside of the killers are well known, including the assassin of Lennon, The catches-hearts distills in addition to a scent of sulphur. As for the fate of Salinger, fragile man who chose imprisonment rather than spawn with a who’s who in new york, it certainly has a raw material that is ideal to inspire any film-maker, dramatist or the biographer. Alas ! We cannot say that it has allowed Danny Strong deliver a work memorable.


For his first feature film, actor (Gilmore Girls, Mad Men) and screenwriter (Empire) is under attack at this monument of american literature, not without avoid all the pitfalls peculiar to the genre. In fact, how many has there been of these stories of young geniuses, marginal, supported by a dedicated teacher, artist missed of preference, to the big screen ?


An approach that was very respectful, too little bold (one can imagine the late Salinger yawn of boredom before this smooth illustration of his life), the biopic that Danny Strong offers tells well wisely the youth of this boy tormented, soldier, traumatized and abandoned lover. By doing so, he recalls the genesis of the novel The catcher hearts. Told in flash-back, at the time when Salinger was interned at his return from the Second world War, Rebel in the Rye is full of plans of the writer to become disappearing in the swirls of cigarette smoke while he sits at the machine.

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Bulk, Strong strives to scroll through a compulsory passage in the life of Salinger, the salon bourgeois of his father (Victor Garber), who would have preferred that his son is considering something other than a career as a writer, and his mother understanding (Hope Davis) to the trenches where he faces the horror, passing by the classrooms and the nightclubs… And, of course, the arms of Oona O’neill (Zoey Deutch), a daughter of the great playwright, that dropped to Chaplin. As you may know or not Salinger or his alter-ego Holden Caulfield, narrator of The catcher hearts, each scene few surprises as each of the turnaround proves to be telegraphed.


Elegant postcard the old-fashioned charm of New York of the 1950s, Rebel in the Rye rests on the shoulders of this engaging Nicholas Hoult, who performs honorably of his task. In the role of his teacher, dreaming of recognition and its ambitious editor, Kevin Spacey and Sarah Paulson are strong foil.


V. O. Cineplex Odeon Forum.

Rebel in the Rye
★★ 1/2

Biographical drama of Danny Strong. With Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, Victor Garber, Hope Davis, Sarah Paulson and Zoey Deutch. United states, 2017, 106 minutes.