My Salinger Year (Drama) [True Story] (2020)
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Writer: Philippe Falardeau, Joanna Smith Rakoff (Based on Memoir by)
Stars: Margaret Qualley, Sigourney Weaver, Douglas Booth, Brían F. O’Byrne
Young, aspiring college graduate Joanna Rakoff (Margaret Qualley) gets hired by J.D. Salinger’s literary agency. While tasked with sifting through Salinger’s fan-mail, she wants to make it as a writer herself but gets stuck in the job.
Adapting the story of Joanna Rakoff’s time working for literary agency Harold Ober Associates. ‘’My Salinger Year’’, directed by Philippe Falardeau, spins the story altering most details to make the tale appealing for the silver screen.
Based on the experiences of Rakoff working under the agency serving J.D Salinger, among others, ‘’My Salinger Year’’ is a personal detailing of a period in her life. Using a direct narrative style
in several scenes and telling such a personal story despite several alterations makes the film stand out to be different enough as a proportionally deep drama around an uncertain situation.
As a whole, ‘’My Salinger Year’’ engages the viewer in a way not many films are able; the way negative and positive emotions are swirled around in its script is almost expertly done. Casting an iconic actress such as Sigourney Weaver in the role of the agency’s boss helps the film stand out without devaluing the performances by the remaining cast and leading actress Margaret Qualley.
If there were any criticisms, they’d be around the unique narrative style; at the beginning in Rakoff’s job interview, she looks directly into the camera before the perspective shifts, the same style returns in the form of the fans writing letters addressed to Salinger. While It was an interesting and creative angle, it doesn’t entirely pay off, not having much influence over the rest of the story.
The throwback atmosphere and fitting soundtrack uphold the other brilliant features serving the emotional and adult narration around writers/poets very well.
Within an over-saturated genre, this fictionalised retelling of Rakoff’s manages to be different enough to be incredibly entertaining and gripping while not reinventing the wheel in any sense.
An enticing film to writers and lovers of heavier drama.