Critic Reviews



Based on 28 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
In its revelations of Salinger's flaws, the documentary capably strips away the fanaticism associated with his books to create the impression of a human being.
The Playlist
Given that this isn’t the extended TV mini-series that the subject deserves, Salinger does an effective job of making the writer seem alternately more mundane and more mysterious, almost at the same time.
Time Out
Though there’s no shortage of biographies on the notoriously private writer, no one has had the stones to try making a comprehensive visual documentary on someone as camera-aversive as the Catcher in the Rye author. The effort itself should be applauded.
Although it is overlong, it manages to be fascinating for much of its running time. But it also disappoints on many counts, providing another example of hype outpacing actual achievement -- a syndrome that Salinger himself would probably have deplored.
At two hours and nine minutes, Salinger is at least 40 minutes too long, suffering, just like the book, from its creators' obsessive zeal. Only here, you can't page ahead to the next chapter.
When Salinger succeeds, it’s in spite of Salerno’s heavy hand and because of the implicit intrigue of J.D. Salinger’s life story. For a director who clearly reveres his subject’s work, he doesn’t grasp how the flashy, eardrum-busting pomp and circumstance of his film is exactly the kind of thing Salinger abhorred.
It’s difficult to get past the film’s restless, ill-fittingly bombastic style.
Slant Magazine
An outsized A&E Biography episode coursing with the strident urgency typical to anyone convinced they have something new to say on a long since played-out topic.
Village Voice
What the movie gets hilariously, howlingly wrong is the idea that a life like Salinger's—so extraordinary, yet so willfully humdrum—could somehow be captured by the most shopworn of cinematic techniques.
The Dissolve
Salinger thinks it’s big, important news, but it’s barely a footnote.

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