Based on the 2014 memoir, My Salinger Year is The Devil Wears Prada for the literary world, a young woman’s coming of age as she balances her writing ambitions with her new job at a major New York City literary agency.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
Based on the 2014 memoir by the same name, My Salinger Year follows wide-eyed grad school dropout Joanna Rakoff (the buzzy Margaret Qualley) as she attempts to balance her writing aspirations with her new job as assistant to J.D. Salinger’s superstar literary agent, Margaret (Sigourney Weaver).
An age-old tale of a young woman coming of age in New York City, My Salinger Year does for the literary scene what The Devil Wears Prada did for the fashion world. Joanna has little money and her apartment has no sink – she and her insufferable socialist boyfriend wash their dishes in the bathtub – but she remains undeterred, spending her days in the agency’s luxe wood-panelled offices, caught up in the orbit of her stern, alluring boss.
In large part, her job consists of processing Salinger’s earnest fan mail, a job she grows increasingly emotionally invested in, despite having never even read The Catcher in the Rye. When the reclusive author starts calling the office, he and Joanna strike up a friendship, and Salinger offers Joanna personal advice about her writing ambitions, advice at odds with both her menial assistant position and forecasted agenting career.
Directed by Philippe Falardeau (The Good Lie), My Salinger Year is a cosy period piece set in the mid-90s, when email was new, the Internet was referred to as the World Wide Web and desktop computers were viewed with scepticism. It’s a gentle, often humorous peek inside the book trade, led by two of today’s most electric stars. — Amanda Jane Robinson