6.7/10
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86 user 156 critic

Liberal Arts (2012)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 5 October 2012 (UK)
Trailer
2:26 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Josh Radnor

Writer:

Josh Radnor

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Josh Radnor ... Jesse Fisher
Elizabeth Olsen ... Zibby
Richard Jenkins ... Professor Peter Hoberg
Allison Janney ... Professor Judith Fairfield
Elizabeth Reaser ... Ana
John Magaro ... Dean
Kate Burton ... Susan
Robert Desiderio ... David
Zac Efron ... Nat
Kristen Bush ... Leslie
Ali Ahn ... Vanessa
Ned Daunis Ned Daunis ... Eric
Gregg Edelman ... Robert
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Sometimes students make the best teachers.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 October 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Liberal Arts See more »

Filming Locations:

Gambier, Ohio, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,435, 16 September 2012

Gross USA:

$327,345

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,150,681
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There was a storyline with Michael Weston as Miles, a friend of Jesse who is trying to go to Spain but has several issues that keep him from going. All of his scenes were filmed but not in the movie; they are featured in the Bonus section as Deleted Scenes. See more »

Goofs

Just before and after the first hug scene of Jesse and Zibby in the theater, when they are walking together (to and fro), we see a girl in grey top and black pants walking in the same direction twice. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

In the Moonlight
Written by Dawn Mitschele
Performed by Dawn Mitschele
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Charm and Wonderful Acting Make for a Worthwhile Watch
6 January 2013 | by salbelmondo-570-512867See all my reviews

The hyphenate that is this Josh Radnor guy presents a somewhat thin but ultimately rewarding film with LIBERAL ARTS. The story is a charming one—jaded New Yorker makes an excursion back to his alma mater in Ohio and meets a much younger and gorgeous kindred spirit who forces him to self-reflect. But unfortunately, it's also a story that provides enough material for an 80 minute film which Radnor stretches out to around 97 minutes. Thus, some of the film drags a bit. Luckily, Radnor casts actors with incredible talent who breathe life into the film when it begins to deflate.

Elizabeth Olsen, specifically, is an ace. In a character reversal from her breakthrough in MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, she is beautiful and funny, effortlessly natural. The scenes featuring her make the film. Watching her this early in her career and contemplating just how much potential she has and what she'll be able to do with it is exciting for any movie lover. Richard Jenkins is wonderful as always, as is Allison Janney. Even Zac Efron, making a humorous cameo appearance, helps liven things up a bit. The bond shared between Radnor's character and a depressed, anti-social undergrad, played by John Magaro, is particularly sincere.

The film seems to be a meditative-lite work. It's brooding and thoughtful, but it's not something that will permeate your thoughts or stick with you days after watching. But it isn't supposed to be. (At least I don't think so.) The film is probably significantly more appealing to a select group of people—mainly those with a "liberal arts" background, or those able to register all of the literary references—but that is not to say the film is only for some. The pleasant romantic-comedy-ish-drama story and the aforementioned acting is enough to create a film anyone can enjoy if they try. If the viewer tries to get past the somewhat pretentious collegiate talk, tries to hold on for the somewhat slow moments, tries to watch the film as a light and entertaining piece to pass 90-something minutes, it's highly recommended. Seek it out.


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