But as much as we learn about Salinger personally from the people who were part of his life, what's curiously glossed over in the film's two-hour running time is Salinger's writing itself—and why it mattered to so many people. While a slew of celebrities including John Cusack (The Raven), Edward Norton (Moonrise Kingdom) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) all briefly show up for pretty generic commentary on The Catcher and the Rye's influence on modern culture, one is still left with more questions than answers.

Why was Salinger obsessively devoted to his craft and what motivated him? What distinguished his voice from the other authors of the day? With modern society's short attention span, why do the themes of The Catcher in the Rye still resonate?

Those missteps aside, there's a pretty big reward for the audience's patience at the end of Salinger, one that proves there was a method to at least some of his madness. Helping solve the mystery of what Salinger was doing during all that seclusion, his posthumous work (he scheduled the release dates for his works himself before his death in 2010) will be hitting bookstores in 2015.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking, frequent cigarette smoking
  • Language/Profanity: An exclamation of God's name, a single use of go-d---, bas---d, he--
  • Sex/Nudity: A woman says she lost her virginity to J.D. Salinger. Discussion of Salinger's preference for much younger women.
  • Violence: A handful of battle scenes show soldiers getting shot, and in some cases, blown up. There are also several extended shots of dead, badly disfigured bodies from the Holocaust.

Publication date: September 20, 2013