Aspiting author J.D. Salinger (Nicholas Hoult
) is struggling to become a professional writer in 1939. He takes a writing course and finally gets a short story published, but when WWII breaks out, his career as a writer is put on hold. However, it inspires him to write the beloved American classic The Catcher in the Rye
and create beloved lead character Holden Caulfield.
The film sheds light on the events that shaped the young author, and some of the influential people in his life, including his mentor Whit Burnett (played by Kevin Spacey). Salinger overcomes some of life's greatest obstacles - from heartbreak to a brutal war with long-lasting impacts - eventually publishing the novel that propels him to fame. Despite the success he enjoys as an acclaimed author, we see how Salinger pays a very high price for his art.
Based on the biography J.D. Salinger: A Life
by Kenneth Slawenski.