6.7/10
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Liberal Arts (2012)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 5 October 2012 (UK)
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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:

Amor e Letras 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:

$317,190

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,150,681
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

Although not mentioned by name, the "vampire book" that sparks an argument between the two main characters is based on "Twilight". Elizabeth Reaser, who plays Ana in this film, also plays Esme Cullen in the "Twilight" movies. In the film, the book's title is "Lunar Moon". Its cover is similar to that of "Twilight". See more »

Goofs

When listing the music tracks at the final credits, "Mediation" by Jules Massenet is written. It should be "Meditation". 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 »


Soundtracks

I Want a Kenyon Man
Words and Music by Maxwell Budd Long
Vocal Arrangement by Benjamin Locke
Performed by Calle Voce, featuring Carling Fitzsimmons, Caroline Eichler, Ananda Plunkett, Joanna Tomassoni, Robyn Rae Stype, Ellen Kaufman, Julia Dopp, Ally Schmaling
Produced by Marc Lacuesta
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Psychologically entertaining with a first-rate screenplay
16 December 2012 | by SteveMierzejewskiSee all my reviews

I see this movie as a look at life through the perspectives of different generations. Aging may bring wisdom, (well, at least to some) but it also brings a whole new array of problems; problems that cannot be understood by those outside of a highly specific age range. There may be some communication between generations. We can learn from both those who have gone before us and those younger than us, but this learning is more at the intellectual than emotional level. Thirty-five-year-old Jesse (Josh Radnor) is introduced to classical music by 19-year-old Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) but their perspectives on life challenge their chances to unite in a more personal way.

The film, in some ways, is like the Canterbury Tales (which is mentioned in the movie), only instead of traveling to a city while relating different tales, the characters are traveling through life with different perspectives. We have youthful optimism and idealism, age with its cynicism and bitterness, and middle-age with its realism. There are also perspectives from mysticism and despair. This is more of a psychological movie than an action movie. Although I never lost interest in the story, I am well-aware that this is not what most younger moviegoers are looking for and it is they who will be disappointed in this film. So be it. When today's hottest action films are replaced by those which have better special effects, films like Liberal Arts will endure because they will stand on their own merits, outside of time.

I found the acting good and the screenplay excellent. The interaction between the characters was believable. I cannot imagine anyone other than the writer, Josh Radnor, playing the main role. He plays the part of a man trapped by middle-aged angst to perfection. However, this is not simply a dry intellectual drama. There is a good deal of humor, some great lines, but it is humor that is witty more than physical.

As a classical music fan myself, I liked seeing Jesse discover this genre. I also liked the scene where Jesse tries to bridge the generation gap mathematically, but I can't say more about that here. In short, this is an enjoyable movie, but those looking for goofball comedies or bloody fight scenes should go onto something else. Don't worry. This film will still be around for you to discover when you are ready for it.


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