Liberal Arts

5 October 2012 Film

Liberal Arts

Actor Josh Radnor is best known as Ted in hit TV series How I Met Your Mother, but he’s also a talented writer and director. His second feature, Liberal Arts, is a smart, wordy, warm and insightful indie gem; a romantic comedy/coming-of-age tale that will appeal to everyone who’s enrolled in a mind-broadening Arts degree with uncertain employment prospects at the end. Jesse (Radnor) is a bookish boy-man, a thirty-something admissions officer at a Manhattan college. He returns to his idyllic alma mater in Ohio to give a speech in honour of his old professor (the wonderful Richard Jenkins). While on campus, Jesse becomes fascinated by the fresh-faced, open-hearted Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen). She’s 16 years younger, but clever enough for much fizzy conversational sparring. There’s nothing predictable about the way the romance unfolds, and delightful cameos by Jenkins, Zac Efron and Allison Janney add layers of depth to this truly sweet and gently wise comedy.

ROCHELLE SIEMIENOWICZ

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