The film Liberal Arts was an excellent exploration into the subject of aging. Josh Radnor wrote, directed and starred in this independent film. He plays a college graduate named Jesse Fisher who works in a New York university admission office. He is very disillusioned with his life. The movie begins with his laundry is stolen and his girlfriend leaving him. He seems to spend most of his social interactions with various books that he always has his head buried in. One day his favorite professor from college calls. The professor is retiring and would like Jesse to say something on his behalf.
Visiting his Alma mater ignites a feeling of profound nostalgia. He bumps into a former professor and crush in the bookstore. Jesse quickly catches a case of revertigo for he quickly becomes a 19 year old sophomore again. Is it the cast that one cannot go home again or has Jesse been given a chance to connect with someone he admires?
Jesse also meets a young sophomore named Zibby. But like all walks down memory lane they must end and thus Jesse returns to his life in New York. Zibby gives him a CD filled with classical music. Zibby and Jesse begin a long pen pal relationship. It is through those letters that a romance is slowly kindled.
I love this movie because while it examines the complexities of aging it does not take the tried and true movie story lines. The juxtaposition of Jesse’s relationship with the two women is fantastic. This movie is an honest assessment of what life is like at various ages.
The truth of the aging is that there is never this feeling of being grown up. Oh sure most of us THINK we have it together. Some of us fake it until it’s a natural way of being. Most of the time aging does not feel any different from when you turn 18. The thing that changes is your reflection in the mirror.
In addition to the great story line the acting is superb. Elizabeth Olsen plays Zibby. She has a great deal of chemistry with Josh Radnor. She is someone to keep your eyes on. Allison Jenney and Richard Jenkins are classic character actors who are just brilliant and fun to watch. Zac Efron is so charming and funny. His performance alone is worth the price of admission.
This movie is so refreshingly good. Everything works from the pacing, the storyline, the acting, the music, etc. It is thoughtful and funny. It was worth every penny I paid to see it. Please support your local movie house by seeing this delightful movie.