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Liberal Arts - Film Review

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by Mellie M (subscribe)
Yogi, Foodie, Editor and Writer. I blog/edit at
Published December 9th 2012
A kidult comedy about growing pains

Feeling a little mid-life crisis?
Growing pains as a kidult?
Wishing that you can go back to college?

Well, Liberal Arts, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, is the movie for you.

Josh Radnor (Ted of How I Met Your Mother fame) stars as Jesse, a 35 year old admissions director of a New York university. While he has a stable job, he feels lost - as if he is in a dead end. He dresses like a student and somehow never quite moved on to be a mature adult. Even his ex flatly refuses to make him feel good about himself anymore, since it's no longer her job.

Originally from a Mid-West university, Jesse returns for his professor's retirement party.

Everything appears to have remained the same. The grass is still as soft as ever, with couples still dreaming on it. He jumps onto the same benches. Time has frozen still, while he is now a grown man.

He meets Zibby (the gorgeous Elizabeth Olsen), a college student. Age-appropriateness aside, they are drawn to each other immediately. Zibby and Jesse write letters to each other, listen to each other's mix-tape CDs and gradually fall for each other's imagery from afar. There is the all-important argument about Stephanie Meyer's Twilight book series, which highlights the differences in their ages.

Between this budding relationship, there is Nat (Zac Effron), who seems stoned out but dishes out pearls of wisdom. Zac's performance was so good that I hardly saw any of the Disney High School Musical regalia in his acting. Jesse also comforts Dean (John Magaro), a depressed and over-stressed A student. Allison Jenney was also a wonder as Judith Fairchild, Jesse's favourite British romantic poetry professor, whom he had a one-night stand with.

Great acting by great actors.

Obviously at some stage, Jesse grew up and met Ana (Elizabeth Reaser), who is a book store manager and more age-appropriate for him.

This film made me realise how everyday blandness is okay and in fact, there will be "some good days and some bad days, but everything can be okay."

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*Mellie M was invited as a guest
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Why? Josh Radnor (Not as Ted from HIMYM)
When: Out now
Where: In cinemas
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