Liberal Arts


Wandering the streets of New York City with his nose constantly buried in a book, 35-year-old liberal arts college graduate Jesse (Josh Radnor) finds the city to be contentious, his work uninspiring, and his most recent relationship in tatters. Dreaming of his halcyon days in college, Jesse jumps at the chance to return to his small, Midwestern alma mater when he’s invited to speak at the retirement dinner of his second-favorite college professor (Richard Jenkins).
Back on campus, Jessie is reinvigorated and forms unlikely bonds with a spastic stoner (Zac Efron), a sardonic literature instructor (the show-stealing Allison Janney), and a troubled young bookworm (John Magaro). But Jesse’s life is most profoundly affected by 19-year-old Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen), a spirited and intelligent sophomore who shares his passion for literature, music, and poetry. Zibby awakens scary, exciting, long-dormant feelings of possibility and connection that Jesse thought he had buried forever, leading to a highly unlikely relationship which blossoms into a true romance of intellects.
Much like his previous film HappyThankYouMorePlease, writer/director Radnor explores the challenges of coming of age—be it into young adulthood or middle age—with intelligence, grace, and a wicked sense of humor.