Movie review: Liberal Arts

Elizabeth Olsen, left, and Josh Radnor in a scene from the movie Liberal Arts.
Elizabeth Olsen, left, and Josh Radnor in a scene from the movie Liberal Arts. Contributed -

HOW I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor's second directorial effort is a film for book lovers.

Liberal Arts follows college admissions officer Jesse Fisher (Radnor) who travels from New York City back to his Ohio university and makes a connection with a 19-year-old student Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen).

The book-loving Jesse becomes pen pals with Zibby and their brewing romance forces the 30-something to re-examine his life and face his inescapable maturity.

There's a lot of brooding and self-examination going on in this film, so if you don't like self-introspection then this is probably not the movie for you.

Olsen is charming as the mature-beyond-her-years Zibby, who brings Jesse out of his shell by encouraging him to say "yes" to whatever life throws at him.

There's a scene featuring Jesse's utter loathing of the first Twilight book which is quite amusing and also cleverly highlights the generational gap between him and Zibby.

Zac Efron also makes a funny cameo as the beanie-wearing, pseudo-hippie Nat.

For those who went to university and have spent at least the past few years living and working in the "real world", Liberal Arts will hit some familiar heartstrings.

And if you yearn for the years before the advent of e-readers, then you'll find yourself nodding in agreement with Jesse through almost the entire movie.

Liberal Arts

  • Stars: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Elizabeth Reaser, John Magaro, Allison Janney.
  • Director: Josh Radnor
  • Rating: M
  • In cinemas: December 13
  • Star rating: 3 out of 5

Topics:  movie review

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