"An education in Liberal Arts will solve all your problems."
I have a very ego-centric way of judging books. If I feel like I could write something like this with some research and patience I don't get that impressed. I like it, I am impressed but not that much. The same goes for movies. If I could make something like this with a big budget and a good team, I enjoy it but I am not blown away.
Liberal Arts is in the second category. I feel like I could not write something like this in a hundred years! It combines the two - it's an amazingly well-written story which has been shot in just the right way and the output is truly mind-blowing!
The story in itself is very simple, one protagonist coming to terms with the process of growing up. That's it in a nutshell.
I am going to try and make this review very short as I like everything about the movie - everything! So I could gush over it for hours but I would try not to.
The two things that I loved most about it is characters and dialogue. Characters are mostly real-world but still they have a depth to them and a twist of some sort. And dialogues, oh my god! Every movie, even the worst ones, usually have one or two lines that make it worthwhile. This movie has lots of them. There are so many profound, thought-provoking dialogues that you want to just pause it and ponder each one for a while.
Another thing I liked was Josh Radnor. He is my favourite character and actor in the TV show "How I Met Your Mother" and he is just perfect for this role! Absolutely perfect! I love his acting on the whole but he has shined in this film. Bravo!
The other characters are also well-cast be it Elizabeth Olsen as the intellectual and sweet 19 year old co-ed, or Allison Janney as the cynical Romantics professor. And all the actors have done a great job, no complaints from any of them.
There is one character that I must mention. Nat - the guy in the park, who acts like a combination of a hippie and a saint. Extremely well performed by Zac Efron.
The events are there, things happen, but not huge, dramatic things, just simple things that happen in real life with real people. But each event has dialogue and I felt almost holding my breath to listen to each line carefully. I don't do that very often!
I don't want to give too much away but I can't help but mention one dialogue which I found very funny, especially as delivered by Radnor.
Jesse (Josh Radnor): I am taking you off post-modernists.
Dean (John Magaro): What are you prescribing?
Jess: There are these...vampire books. Kids love them. They will empty your mind like anything!
There are a couple of elements which I love because of my personal bias. There are references to classical music and a lot of references to reading books. Love both!
The climax doesn't feel like the climax but the whole movie is more like a cloud of thought that enters your mind with a gentle breeze from one side and floats on exiting on the other side without any thunderclaps.
Finally, the feel of the movie. The overall feel of the movie is very positive, amusing and thought-provoking. The final message is very life-affirming and optimistic. God knows we need more such in today's world!
Conclusion: You should watch it if, and here I am going to sound like a snob but, if you can understand a movie about ideas and not about events.