Liberal Arts is Josh Radnor’s second directional effort, and seems to have stirred up quite the commotion. The How I Met Your Mother man debuted as a filmmaker with Happythankyoumoreplease in 2010, which won the ‘Audience Award’ at the Sundance. Now, his second film, which he’s written, directed, produced and starred in, Liberal Arts, was released at the same festival this year on the 22nd January and was received well, recognized as a witty and thoughtful comedy drama, giving Radnor a little recognition as a maturing and confident director.
The director (also writer and member of the cast) plays a 35-year old literature-enthusiast, working as a college admissions counsellor in New York, thinking about his days in college, afraid that the best of his life might be over… His reminiscence is cut short when an old professor from his mid-western liberal arts college calls him back after 15 years (?) for a speech at his retirement party. He sees the chance to recapture just a fragment of his glory days and sets off immediately. Unexpectedly, his dream of almost reliving the happy-go-lucky freshman life of a literature student is turned upside down when he meets a young woman who leads him astray…
Alongside Josh Radnor, the cast includes Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney and Zac Ephron (though, it seems that Ephron’s role is relatively unimposing). Jesse Hara (also behind happythankyoumoreplease) is co-producer of the film with Radnor, while Ben Toth has taken charge of the soundtrack and Michael R. Miller is editor. Liberal Arts has made a noteworthy impression on those it has reached so far, a step forward for an ambitious new filmmaker and a comedy drama that has moved its viewers charmingly. Radnor manages to balance his sitcom life with what he has said is his true passion, making films. It seems as though this is only his second of many future projects.
Liberal Arts premiered at the recent Sundance Film Festival in Utah, on the 22nd of January of this year. Despite the general enthusiasm circulating around the film, including high praises from the president of Sundance Selects, Jonathon Sehring, it has also been subject to a fair amount of criticism for its occasional talkiness and overly sentimental nature. It seems as though this could be a hit or miss, a clever and heartwarming comedy or another try-hard cliché. Whatever the case, it is definitely something worth talking about and looking forward to.
Liberal Arts at IMDb
Sundance Film Festival at sundance.org
Josh Radnor at Wikipedia
Josh Radnor on ‘Liberal Arts,’ ‘Twilight’ and His Future on ‘How I Met Your Mother’ at news.moviefone.com