Blu-ray review: "Liberal Arts"
A version of this review appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Writer/director/actor Josh Radnor brings an authentic wistfulness and appealing warmth to “Liberal Arts,” his well-crafted sophomore film.
Best known for his lead role in the popular sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” Radnor brings his avid love for literature as well as relatable misgivings about growing up and old to his witty comedy of manners. He stars as Jesse Fisher, a 35-year-old admissions officer at a New York university who always has his nose in a book and slightly out of joint.
Discontented with “the real world,” he eagerly accepts an invitation to return to his picturesque alma mater in Ohio for the retirement dinner of his favorite professor, Peter Hoberg (Richard Jenkins).
His joy at revisiting the sun-dappled campus and equally golden-hued memories of intellectual conversation and unlimited potential get a boost when he meets Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen), the smart, spontaneous and mature-beyond-her-years daughter of Hoberg’s best friends. Bonding over mutual interests, Jesse and the 19-year-old sophomore become pen pals, and their old-fashioned pen-and-paper exchanges about classical music and favorite books — the kind of scholarly stimulation for which Jesse is clearly starved — open up the potential for a romantic relationship.
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