My Salinger Year (2021) movie review

It’s a familiar but high-stakes circumstance, the risky sensation that “My Salinger Year” cannot sustain beyond energetically offering it in its first act. Yet writer / director Falardeau’s faithful adaptation of Rakoff’s 2014 memoir, which chronicles the author’s time working in one of New York’s oldest literary agencies (Harold Ober Associates unnamed in the movie), miraculously maintains some appeal, thanks in large part to Qualley. With her expressively huge eyes, boisterous energy, and inviting (but frustratingly overused) voiceover, she leads the way as Rakoff, who chooses New York’s bookish and mahogany mystic over the sunny beats of Berkeley and a musician boyfriend. booming (Hamza Haq). Even though his performance, at least compared to his uncontrollable presence in films like ‘Novitiate’ and ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’, registers as somewhat tame here mainly due to the film’s smoothness, Qualley nonetheless owns. sufficient charm and plausibility. a young woman at a major crossroads. The smallest details of her presentation here – from her sometimes hesitant demeanor to such ordinary acts as slowly savoring an expensive dessert in a luxury hotel pastry shop – leave an existential mark on the screen.

Again, it’s the mid-90s – a time when some desired emails were just a boring trend, smoking indoors over boozy lunches was always a thing, and the world was quickly becoming the one. anyone’s oyster with the internet starting to dominate everyday life. It was in this atmosphere that Rakoff was placed in her agency work in a sepia-colored and majestically heavy wooden workplace by a recruiting company. Looking at the photos of the literary geniuses decorating the walls of her new office – we’re talking about Agatha Christie and, of course, the famous loner JD Salinger – she quickly feels at home. But just as quickly, she realizes that her boss Margaret (a moderate Sigourney Weaver, delivering a minor but affecting performance) prefers someone who isn’t an aspiring writer – “writers usually make the worst helpers,” we hear it say. , not forgetting to tell the new novice that in order to be successful in this profession she would have to read living writers.

The poker-faced, cold-mannered chef who is totally against computers (used mostly as decorations in her office) or anything tech-savvy, soon puts rookie typist Joanna in charge of dictations as well as an unusual task. : read all fan mail. that “Jerry” (ie Salinger) receives and sends them a stock “we won’t be able to share this with Salinger”, before shredding the letters. We learn that they took this precautionary measure after the assassination of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman, citing Salinger The catcher in the rye as the inspiration for the murder – Joanna is supposed to use her judgment and expose crazy people.

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