When 35 year old, Jesse Fisher returns to his old college for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a student at the college and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs between them.
Directed by and starring, Josh Radnor (Jesse Fisher) plus Elizabeth Olsen (Zibby) the story of Liberal Arts is a complex one, based on the divide between adulthood and youth.
The body language expressed by Jesse as he returns to college tells the audience he is happy in his surroundings and he finds a connection with Zibby despite their age difference. Jesse’s character is portrayed reasonably well of the mature acting adult who has a murmur of youth that he is self-conscious to release. As the movie goes on, we slowly but surely see Jesse unleash this release as he shows youthful enthusiasm for books and life.
The scenes between Jesse and Zibby are emotional to watch for all ages. Zibby wants to be older and look to the future whereas Jesse is stumped by his life and wants to evangelise his youth. By exploring his passions through being with students, it is possible for a younger audience to relate more to his character.
The movie has the potential for explicit sex scenes but the innocence portrayed means it ends with a 12a certificate. The stoner played by Zac Efron especially brings a smile to your face when he says ‘everything is going to be okay’ because you want to believe it. Olsen’s character is a beautiful sign of innocence and you fall in love with her because she is not at all fake.
English students will fall in love with the movie because of the series of books in the film. Jesse and Zibby in particular argue over a series of vampire books likely to be the Twilight series. Jesse also talks to Dean (John Magaro) another student who forms a bond over their attachment to David Foster Wallace’s novel, Infinite Jest.
Liberal Arts overall is a powerful tool to rethink your thoughts in life in whatever stage you are at. It presents the real euphoria of youth from middle age perspective. It is charming and as soon as you’ve finished the movie, you will rethink things over.
Liberal Arts begins showing at City Screen on Coney Street, York this Friday. Times are at 1:15pm, 3:45pm and 7:00pm