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Book-to-film review: My Salinger Year

4/01/2021 4:20 AM
Book-to-film review: My Salinger Year

Gr's resident film & book buff Clive Hodges shares his take on the film My Salinger Year, based on the memoir by Joanna Rakoff.

Joanna Rakoff wrote a memoir, published in 2014, that covered her year as the personal assistant (PA) to Phyllis Westberg, the literary agent for J.D. Salinger, the American author best known for writing The Catcher in the Rye (1951). Her memoir inspired the film, just released, called My Salinger Year, directed by Philippe Falardeau, starring Margaret Qualley as Joanna and Sigourney Weaver as her boss.

In 1996 Joanna, a 23 year old aspiring writer, lands a job as a PA to Margaret, the literary agent for J.D. Salinger. My Salinger Year is an intelligent film that's heart-warming with a touch of humour. Sigourney Weaver as the literary agent is striking; she commands the screen whenever she appears. Margaret Qualley as Joanna beautifully underplays her role.

The film is not a simpering knock-off of The Devil Wears Prada as suggested by some critics. Both movies include a competent woman in the CEO position; both movies are equally excellent.

Writer/director Philippe Falardeau does a fine job allowing us to see the changes in both Margaret and Joanna as the story progresses.

 ★★★★ Four stars out of five