Like a great many troubled American teenagers, prep-school outcast Jamie Schwartz (Alex Wolff) sees something of himself in Holden Caulfield, the troubled teen protagonist of J.D. Salinger’s landmark novel The Catcher in the Rye. Unlike many troubled American teenagers, he decides to do something about it. Not actually fixing his troubles, mind you — at the film’s outset, he’s too callow for that. (He also has a tendency to address the audience — an annoying echo of you-know-who.) Instead, he sets out to become Holden, writing a play based on the novel (he’ll star, natch) and running off to New Hampshire to find the reclusive author and get his permission. He scores a ride from admirer Deedee (an utterly winning Stefania Owen), and their ramble through the Kodachrome-drenched New England countryside gives Jamie a chance to explore his attachment to Holden — and in a superb illustration of the best effects of literature, to become more distinctly himself in the process. It’s not quite coming of age, but it’s definitely growing up a bit. An unobtrusively lovely soundtrack and an absolutely nailed-it performance from Chris Cooper help things to roll smoothly toward a sweet final shot. Written and directed by James Steven Sadwith. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
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