Irish Film Institute -LIBERAL ARTS


Director: Josh Radnor

97 minutes, U.S.A., 2012, Colour, D-Cinema

Familiar from TV’s How I Met Your Mother, Josh Radnor writes, directs and stars in this comedy of manners as a rootless, newly-single 30-something-year-old whose return to his old college alma mater turns out to have unexpected romantic implications.

Attending former English prof Richard Jenkins’ retirement do, he gets the feeling his life really peaked during his varsity days, yet a chance encounter with current student Elizabeth Olsen sends out the tantalising prospect of reliving some of his youth. Yes, it sounds like a male-fantasy scenario, yet Radnor’s protagonist is too sensitive and too much of a cultural snob to act entirely on hormonal impulse, instead he’s the one on a learning curve as Olsen’s generosity of spirit teaches him a thing or two.

Sincere without being icky, intelligent but avoiding cynicism, Radnor’s second feature is an immensely likeable affair, winningly performed by the two leads, and boasting an ace cameo from the marvellous Alison Janney as a predatory leather-clad literature lecturer. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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