Rebel in the Rye

Critics Consensus

Rebel in the Rye attempts to dramatize J.D. Salinger's life and creative process, but falters with a lack of dramatic impetus or a cohesive thesis about the reclusive author.



Total Count: 83


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User Ratings: 826
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Movie Info

This biopic of legendary author J.D. Salinger (Nicholas Hoult) details his relationship with socialite Oona O'Neill (Zoey Deutch), his experiences fighting in World War II, and his writing process for The Catcher in the Rye. Kevin Spacey and Sarah Paulson co-star. Written and directed by Danny Strong, Rebel in the Rye made its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.


Nicholas Hoult
as J.D. Salinger
Kevin Spacey
as Whit Burnett
Sarah Paulson
as Dorothy Olding
Zoey Deutch
as Oona O'Neill
Victor Garber
as Sol Salinger

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Critic Reviews for Rebel in the Rye

All Critics (83) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (60)

  • We see the young Salinger stuck at his desk lighting matches and throwing pages in the garbage. We see his trembling hand hovering above a page. There is sometimes music. When all else fails, there's a montage.

    Oct 6, 2017 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A faithful and often moving look in the life of J.D. Salinger, a warts-and-all portrayal that succeeds in large part because of a dynamically persuasive performance by Nicholas Hoult.

    Oct 5, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • With Rebel in the Rye, we get a solid, well-acted and basically standard biopic.

    Sep 15, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It's not without its charms and solid observations about the perils and passions of the writerly life, but it's too blunt, too neat, and entirely too starry-eyed about both the creator and his creation.

    Sep 15, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • If Jones doesn't quite pull it off, it is at least a film of many pleasures and a thought-provoking look at American literature's most famous loner.

    Sep 15, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • You do see how Salinger's own words, thoughts and actions were reflected in the character of Holden.

    Sep 14, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic

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