Salinger *** (PG-13) This documentary about one of America’s most celebrated and enigmatic authors is fascinating, if flawed. Those who know little beyond his having written The Catcher in the Rye before spending his last 40+ years in seclusion will find many compelling events in his troubled life story, like the profound effects of his losses and experiences during World War II that shaped so much of his writing and personal journey.
Clips are interspersed with comments from dozens of people he knew or influenced, including colleagues, relatives and celebrities. Nothing of his has been published for over 45 years, though he supposedly wrote regularly throughout that time until his death in 2010. Ultimately, this film serves almost as a promo for the books his estate is due to start publishing in 2015, under strict terms in his will. Supposedly, he wanted to write more about Holden Caulfield and the Glass family (no relation) purely for his own satisfaction, untainted by any feedback from the industry or his public. Whether one considers him a great writer or not, he was certainly a fascinating character. (9/20/13)