A young writer with serious literary ambitions takes a job tangentially related to her interests, working for a tyrannical woman in an intimidatingly opaque sector of publishing. Although she eventually wins respect in this new world, she realises that her dreams lie elsewhere.
Directed with a certain tenderness but no sentimentality by Québecois filmmaker Philippe Falardeau, Rakoff’s story rises smartly above authorial coming-of-age cliché. Punchy editing in the opening sequence creates the bumpy sensation of landing one’s feet in the big city; an impromptu dance fantasy in the Waldorf feels delightfully unforced.
Pamela Hutchinson, British Film Institute
The unique cocktail of casually opulent hotel lobbies and earth-toned offices that Qualley floats through harkens back to a bygone era, just as the film’s characters cling to it and try to stop it from drifting away. The world of My Salinger Year is one preserved perfectly in amber, with comforting earthy tones and a permanent autumnal feel permeating the New York spaces where Joanna spends much of her time. In tandem with the gentle romance of Martin Léon’s score, which makes the film feel positively buoyant, director Philippe Falardeau has here fashioned a love letter to both literature and to those who are so earnestly shaped by it.
Molly Adams, In Review Online