After watching the film twice in quick succession – a futile attempt at catching a glimpse of what usually makes a Falardeau film so immensely watchable (see the Quebecois filmmaker’s Monsieur Lazhar, The Good Lie, My Internship in Canada and Chuck) – My Salinger Year ultimately lands as a mere footnote.
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The main issue with the film's screenplay, written by the director, is that it is trying to cover too much ground and yet be tonally light on its feet.
My Salinger Year, which is basically The Devil Wears Prada set in the literary world, is a film that feels like it’s ready to take off at any moment, but stalls every time it tries to do anything.
My Salinger Year often trips on the self-serious nature of its premise, and struggles with an antiquated quality out of sync with its timeline, as if trapped between the character’s genuine experiences and her idealized vision of a literary world that doesn’t really exist.
While My Salinger Year is not always successful in the larger debate it tries to have around how we can define authorship, and how the commercialization of writing infringes upon creativity, the film’s central narrative following Joanna’s conflicting aspirations as a writer largely succeeds.
[A] bafflingly insipid, zestless, derivative film.
The movie doesn’t show a complex enough representation of either adult life or the New York literary world to offer much depth to grownups (it’s far more engaged with Joanna’s romantic life and dream sequences set at the Waldorf Astoria), which means that My Salinger Year must have been intended to inspire young women for whom 1995 seems like the ancient past.
Buoyed by an appealing duet of star turns from Margaret Qualley and Sigourney Weaver.
The transporting power of art is a difficult thing to capture in cinema at the best of times, and this film struggles to do so, leaning heavily on a score which signposts the emotional content of each scene a little too emphatically.
The film fails to effectively seize on how its main character’s life and work experiences have affected her as a person and artist.