“Liberal Arts” is a light and energetic comedy of manners about college, literature and a midlife crisis that hits earlier than expected in real. As a romantic comedy and a coming of age drama, Liberal Arts Movie majors in prime of life and manhood, romance and regret. And because it’s a distinctive and original film, people can experience the romance without regret. Josh Radnor plays a 35 year old named Jesse Fisher, who works as a university admissions counselor in New York City.
When he returns to his charming Midwest alma mater to attend a retirement party for his favorite professor, he meets a 19 year old undergraduate sophomore called Zibby, played by Elizabeth Olsen, he fall in love with Zibby. The missiles are never catch fire because Liberal Arts is more an intellectual traveling around of nostalgia and stunted maturity than anything resembling dangerous passions likewise.
Jesse (Radnor) is a college admissions officer in New York, fresh off a failed relationship, got an invitation from a favorite professor (Richard Jenkins) to return to the school and speak at his retirement dinner. Back on campus, Jesse is revived by memories of his college days. Then he is introduced to theater major Elizabeth (Elizabeth Olsen) nicknamed Zibby, and an attraction blooms between them.
It grows after Jesse’s return to New York through a series of letters between the both sprits that grow in intimacy. Soon, Jesse is back on campus, he has become sensitive to their 16 year age difference. The writer try to give a thought to the viewers, Will the generational gap expose painfully deviating attitudes between the forthcoming lovers? How will their friends and families respond to the match? Will a concern for traditional propriety set off comic fireworks? And so on.
Liberal Arts is less a romance than a character study of a man hesitant to embrace full blown adulthood. That creates a huge problem. Radnor’s obvious attraction centers on the exchange of literary ideas, which he sees as the precious product of a liberal arts education. But his attempts to recreate that ideal in his writing are often awkward, and he doesn’t do enough to infect the viewer with the warm love of academia in which Jesse struggle.
He also peppers the film with unpersuasive characters, including Dean, a smart student struggling with mental issues; and Nat, a laid-back individualist full of gentle wisdom and smartness. Most part of Liberal Arts was shot on the campus of Kenyon College in Gambier; the campus plays its role beautifully. Liberal Arts present the bond between these two Jesse and Zibby as casual yet overwhelming until their big moment of truth arrives. That’s when the film takes a less adventurous turn, but it’s still the wittiest, most insightful campus comedy at all.