There is just something about this film that resonates with me. I first saw Liberal Arts, written by, directed by and starring Josh Radnor of How I Met Your Mother fame, at last year’s Nantucket Film Festival, a favorite island event. The story addresses the underlying tension between young and old, fiction and reality, innocence and experience. Jesse, a 35 year-old college admissions officer in New York City, returns to his alma mater in a small Ohio town to attend his favorite professor’s retirement party. While there, Jesse is introduced to Zibby, a 19-year old bright-eyed sophomore, played by Elizabeth Olsen, whose zest for life awakens Jesse, a man who loses himself in books to combat his loneliness.
The film opens with a simple quote from Ecclesiastes: “He that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.” Jesse is proof of this. Life’s answers aren’t found on the pages of books but rather in experiences. And thus Zibby, the youngest, becomes the heroine of this beautiful film through her simple life tenet, an improv rule: say yes to everything. Never stop exploring. And maybe it is this that keeps drawing me back to this delightful film. So, here’s to the journey and to my favorite line “Nobody feels like an adult. It’s the world’s dirty secret.”