Ray's Review: Rebel In The Rye

Rebel In The Rye

One thing everyone loves is a really good story and lucky for us we have found one in the new film Rebel In The Rye. The film chronicles the life of Author J.D. Salinger the writer of the iconic book Catcher in The Rye. Starring Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, Sarah Paulson, and Zoey Deutch we catch an interesting glimpse into the world of this iconic writer and in a way learn a little more about what makes the character Holden Caufield tick.

As far as biopics go this one is fairly dark. It is safe to say that J.D. Salinger was not your typical writer, but more a man who was constantly struggling with finding himself, his purpose, and his voice. When this he finally sets his sights on writing he plunges head long into the field despite criticism from his father. With the help of one of his college professors (played by Kevin Spacey) and the struggles in his own love life with famed socialite Oona O'Neill, we start to see the main character in Catcher form, the legendary Holden Caufield. The character comes into clearer focus after Salingerheads to the front lines of WWII. Upon his return home, he finally manages to sit down and write out the book that many critics call one of the best novels of the 20th century. Though all that glitters is not gold, when the book takes off like a rocket and Salinger finds that the fame and pressure that comes with writing success is more than what he imagined it would be, which ultimately pushes him into a life of solitude, keeping hidden away from the press and the limelight, making him a much more mysterious character.

Nicholas Hoult is the man charged with bringing the intriguing character to life and he does it with ease. This is hands down one of the best performances from Hoult that I have seen. He really shows us his chops as an actor and as a lead. Salinger is not an easy act to play with all his over the top wit and quirks. Hoult handles this with charm and professionalism that has truly made me take another look at his as a leading man.  Kevin Spacey and Sarah Paulson are also wonderful in the film. Spacey shines in his typical fashion as the teacher that points Salinger in the right direction declaring that Holden Caufield is more than a short story but he is a character that deserves an entire book. Paulson as Salinger's manager is witty charming and graceful as she guides J.D. through the world of professional writing helping him get his works published. Zoey Deutch as Oona O'Neill is charming and frivolous as her character calls for. She is the girl who will stand by Salinger when he is hot, but quickly gets distracted and is off to her next adventure, oblivious to the destruction in her wake.

I don't know what it was about this film, but I did really enjoy it. it is a darker glimpse into the life of a man many have heard of and read, but don't really know. This film has plenty of wit and snark throughout that add to its charm, but it at times reminds me of the film A Beautiful Mind, with a lead character that can sometimes be really unlikeable, but at the same time relatable. Overall, his character has an odd charm about him that serves to pull viewers into the story despite his ego and eccentricities. 

Overall we definitely recommend giving Rebel in The Rye a shot. It is a unique look at the like of a man troubled by his own demons and to a lot of degrees is completely relatable. We scored Rebel In The Rye with a solid B+. With a solid lead and supporting cast, you really can't go wrong with this film. 

Don't miss Rebel In The Rye in Theaters everywhere on Friday, September 15th. Catch it locally at the Landmark River Oaks here in H-Town.

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