Written September 21, 2014
Peggy Salinger : "One time he showed me a stack of manuscripts with colored dots on them; if it had a red dot it meant it was ready for publication, if it had a green dot it meant it need editing."
So-called Salinger Expert: "I don't know if we'll ever crack that code"
The movie was so over-dramatic, so insistent on pumping up suspense and amplifying innuendo that the big questions about Salinger's life and work (e.g. what was it about Vedanta Buddhism that appealed to him? How did his own upbringing inform his characters' precocious urbanity?) are left untapped while we celebrate the inconsequential stalkers who confronted him over the years, furious that he couldn't answer questions like "What was my purpose in your life?"
There are real revelations in the slag heap piled here but it's up to the viewer to make sense of them - the film is intent on presenting misreadings and preposterous assumptions.
So bad, my own "Salinger" survived intact. Avoid.
Written October 02, 2013
I'm glad no consciousness persists after death; it would be horrible for Salinger to see this hash of disclosures by obsessed stalkers still pursuing and gossiping about him. Joyce Maynard was especially hideous. Interesting in parts but too long, repetitive, and disrespectful.
Written October 24, 2014
Watching this felt very exploitative of Salinger. I have conflicted feelings about my curiosity to learn more about Salinger and to respect his wishes for privacy; you won't learn anything here that you can't learn elsewhere. The low-brow re-enactments featuring a Salinger lookalike and soaring John Williams-esque music were awful. The filmmakers don't miss a chance to congratulate themselves: grand announcements of "never before seen" footage and pictures that reveal little about Salinger except that he was quite right to feel so much anger at the press and fans who would not leave him alone. The worst moment came at the end when the filmmakers announced what they believe to be the subject matter of the to-be-released unpublished writings, "verified by two separate sources." The interview with the D-Day survivor was heartbreaking but shed no new information on J.D. Salinger's war experiences. The Jean Miller interview was interesting, but could have just been a short TV special.
Written September 16, 2013
Awesome that they were able to find all of the people who had spent time with JD especially in his earlier years. Very informative - so much I did not know and learned in this film. Without spoiling the ending, it is totally worth staying right up until the very end to see what's coming. Well done!
Written September 23, 2013
This is the first film I have ever walked out on. I gave it an hour and a half and then called it a night. Too many interviews, no real theme and very cheesy transitions. Bad reenactments a la "Unsolved Mysteries." At one point, a narrator appeared and said 3 sentences, and then it went back to being all interviews...what?
Such a great writer, such an awful documentary. I would really like my money back.