Rebel In the Rye Review
Often times we consider those who have achieved such great success as perfect human beings. They seem to have unlocked certain mysteries in life that elude so many of us. Rebel In The Rye is about J.D. Salinger who wrote the classical The Catcher in the Rye novel that is adored by so many. It shows his journey from being an unpolished delinquent to a brilliant writer. I am going to be completely honest with you that I am an uncultured swine and have never read The Catcher in the Rye, I had no idea who J.D. Salinger was nor how his life turned out so it was entertaining to come in completely blind.
We are introduced to J.D. Salinger as a young man living in a pre World War 2 time where his major concerns are getting published and catching the eye of a woman he fancies. There were a lot of great actors in this film. J.D. was played by Nicholas Hoult who captured the sarcasm and unstable brilliance of the author. We are first introduced to J.D. in a mental ward where people can be seen acting erratic, yelling or even just completely disconnected from the world around him. The young man is shown struggling to even hold a pencil and yet we, the viewer, are told that he is an accomplished writer. It is a great hook to begin the film at one of his worst moments and absolutely drew me in, especially because it then transitioned to jazz filled party with beautiful people and drinks.
J.D. is overconfident and frustrated with how slow his success is until he meets his writing mentor, Whit Burnett who is played by Kevin Spacey. Together they exchange ideas and offer feedback which is inspiring to see two creatives strive for greatness. This is welcomed by how much it contrasts his relationship with Sol Salinger who is played by Victor Garber. Whether it was intentional or not, the characters surrounding J.D. seemed to represent his own inner struggle with making his parents proud and being the man he wants to be.This is amplified by his love for Oona O’Neill played by Zoey Deutch who urges him to be famous because she loves that and despite their multiple fights, he can’t stand to be separated from her.
His life is thrown for a loop when he is drafted into World War 2 and dragged through experiences no man should ever deal with. The way the director handles these scenes are impressive as these moments are fleeting and yet we gather so much emotion from mere minutes. Scenes of basic training, the night before deployment, being deployed and surviving firefights and all the while he continues to write and hone his craft.
When he returns from war he is shown to be distraught from every aspect and this hinders his ability to write. He struggles to maintain his previous connections and ultimately loses himself before walking a path to redemption thanks to trying out a new religion. I don’t want to give away too much but the journey of J.D. kept me on the edge of my seat the entire film because of how hard he worked for what he wanted and what he had to do in order to overcome such difficult situations. The film doesn’t just showcase hit success with ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ but goes beyond that to show his life as a whole.
Overall Rebel in the Rye was a great watch, I entered the film knowing nothing about the author and came out appreciating him as one of the greatest authors and immediately purchased a copy of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ for myself. I highly recommend this film if you enjoy watching a story of struggle, strife, and redemption. It also displays just how hard you must work in order to achieve success in any fashion. It also warns that the grass is not greener on the other side as fame changed the famed author to live a life of isolation.