Liberal Arts | Chicago Reader

Liberal Arts

Rated NR 97 minutes 2012

College is supposed to prepare you for adult life, which doesn't explain why so many graduates fantasize about going back to college. In this thoughtful drama by writer-director Josh Radnor, a 35-year-old admissions counselor in New York City (Radnor) returns to his alma mater (Kenyon College, where the filmmaker got his degree) and bonds romantically with a 19-year-old student (Elizabeth Olsen). Representing the quiet horrors of adulthood are two professors: a hardened middle-aged woman (Allison Janney) and an older man having second thoughts about his retirement (Richard Jenkins). I can't say I didn't enjoy the movie, though I must confess to having second thoughts of my own: the spell of lounging around an idyllic campus talking about William Blake is so powerful that not until the stunning young coed begs the hero to take her virginity did I recognize this as a large-scale exercise in wish fulfillment.

Film Credits

Director: Josh Radnor

Producer: Brice Dal Farra, Claude Farra, Lauren Munsch, Jesse Hara, Josh Radnor, Peter Graham, Stephen Hays and Paul Prokop

Cast: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, John Magaro, Elizabeth Reaser, Zac Efron, Kate Burton, Robert Desiderio and Ali Ahn

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