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Liberal Arts (2012)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  5 October 2012 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 26,574 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 77 user | 151 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor's retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.



(french adaptation),
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2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Ned Daunis ...


Thirty-five year old Jesse Fisher, an admissions officer at a New York City post-secondary institution he who loves English and literature, has somewhat lost his passion in life, which includes recently being unceremoniously dumped by his latest girlfriend, who could no longer be the person to prop him up emotionally. He has a chance to find that passion again when he is invited to the retirement dinner of his second favorite Ohio University college professor, Peter Hoberg, as his time there was when his life held the most passion. Jesse's encounters with five people there may determine if he does find that passion again. They are: Hoberg, who is resisting the notion of retirement; Judith Fairfield, Jesse's favorite professor, although for a different reason than his like of Hoberg; Nat, a free spirit who navigates life at the institution on his own terms; undergraduate student Dean, who Jesse sees as a younger more destructive version of himself; and nineteen year old undergraduate ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sometimes students make the best teachers.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content including references, mature thematic material, and some teen drinking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 October 2012 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Amor e Letras  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$27,435 (USA) (14 September 2012)


$317,190 (USA) (16 November 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The book that Jesse is reading on his way to the laundromat is "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy. See more »


One of the early listings in the final credits is missing an "s" - "First Assitant Camera" See more »


[first lines]
Jesse Fisher: You know, high school to college, it can be a big transition, especially if you're not from the city, so - so we try yo help out with that transition, in a number of ways.
See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.203 (2011) See more »


Piano Concerto No. 5: 2nd Movement
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Arranged by Keith Blainville
Performed by The Blainville Symphony Orchestra'
Courtesy of Focus Music Ltd.
By arrangement with 5 Alarm Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Liberal Arts - A+
21 April 2012 | by (TX, United States) – See all my reviews

I am going to start out by saying that I loved this film. I think that Josh Radnor did an excellent job writing, directing and starring in this film. The film conveyed that no matter how old you get, you still have more growing to do. The film also demonstrated the hustle and bustle of city life and the calm, serene climate of the country. It also took me back to my years in college and how intense that part of your life really is and the influence that it has on you. There is always one or two instructors that makes an impression on you in college and for Jesse (Josh Radnor) it was Professor Judith Fairfield (Allison Janney) and Professor Peter Hoberg (Richard Jenkins). Judith was feisty and deliberate and had a no-holds-barred kind of attitude, while Peter was struggling with his decision-making skills. (By the way, my favorite professor was Dr. Spradley who taught me all about technical writing). The relationship that develops between Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) and Jesse is educational in the fact that they both have something to learn from the other. I think that the lessons that they learned maybe even educated the audience a little (I know that is how I felt). The relationship between Jesse and Dean (John Magaro) was a heart-tugging event. Dean kind of reminded me of Will in Good Will Hunting. There are people in this world that are naturally talented in certain things and that is the one thing that they want to do the least. The only character that seemed to have everything pretty much figured out was Nat (Zac Efron). Out of all the characters in this film, I liked him the most. He was quirky, funny and surprisingly insightful. I remember thinking that as strange as he was; I could see myself hanging out with him. Every time he would appear on screen you just knew that he was going to put a smile on your face. I still have a couple of films to see during this film festival, but I have to say that so far this one is my favorite. I hope that when this film comes out to the general public that it does really well. Josh should be very proud of himself for putting together such an engaging piece of work. Pure entertainment! I am giving this film and A+ and a glaring green light.

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