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Liberal Arts – Review

Liberal Arts Review
Liberal Arts Review
Liberal Arts Review


Release Date: 5th October 2012
Director: Josh Radnor
Writer: Josh Radnor
Cast: Josh Radnor - Elizabeth Olsen - Richard Jenkins - Zac Efron - Allison Janney



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Posted September 19, 2014 by

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Liberal Arts Review:

Ted is that you? Yes How I Met Your Mothers leading man Josh Radnor returns to the directing chair after his debut HappyThankYouMorePlease those few years ago but does Liberal Arts hold up to how great his first film was? Well for me HappyThankYouMorePlease is more of a love due to it’s New York roots but Liberal Arts (as you might have noticed from the title) leads a more writers route of people falling in love and being in love with what they do. The film very much reflects what it is like to love someone and also love writing.

Liberal Arts stars Josh Radnor himself of course along with the brilliant Elizabeth Olsen as Jesse and Zibby. The story takes place as Jesse is unhappy with his life and career path, always reminiscing of his college days at liberal arts school thinking of how he was once surrounded by like minded people. He is invited back to the College by Peter (Richard Jenkins) an old English teacher of his for his retirement. Here is where he meets the young Zibby, a sophomore in liberal arts. The two meet and form an interesting relationship together but Jesse slowly begins to fall in love with her despite the age gap between the two of them.

The film’s story revolves mainly around people’s connection to one another through that of a simple thing such as books, literature, music, film, the list can quite honestly go on. We all have these little connections which bring us together and throughout Jesse does just this. It’s very much the basis of college as you mix with all these similar individuals and that’s what works with the film, the connection. The character Jesse just hits it off with almost every character he comes into contact with such as Zibby as the two have similar tastes in literature and music but other characters just go with Jesse too such as an older college teacher of his he always admired or even Dean, a depressed student he bumps into. All of which he connects and interacts with through their love of literature.

The film twists it’s story and ideals into that of over thinking the past later on. Jesse is just stuck. It’s as if the film is a tell tale for a mid-life crisis, he’s stuck not knowing what to do or what he wants something we all can easily connect to. In fact at one point he is told to stop chasing after Zibby and stop re-living the past as he encounters many college parties and tries to fit in the student life. It’s what we all go through wanting something else from life or to relive those ever exciting moments but it’s about overcoming those. It’s about overcoming those great fears and struggles in life and trying to just start a new and look for something else.

Josh Radnor has done a brilliant job with this well written and very well directed film which just oozes the ideas of a past life which just fit perfectly into our own mind sets. If the character Jesse can overcome these things, then why can’t others and that’s exactly the idea I feel this film gets to and the point it reaches as Jesse later on begins helping other, even at one point telling Dean (that depressed student) to not keep his head in a book re-alliterating his own student life.

If you enjoyed HappyThankYouMorePlease then you’ll definitely like Liberal Arts. It seems Josh Radnor is much more than just comedy guy Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother and it seems his true talent is brining us some incredible looks on these people and their lives.


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Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 22.37.10

Matthew Reay
Freelance Contributor


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