Word has been making the Kenyon rounds about the standing ovation Josh Radnor ’96’s Liberal Arts received when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival a few days ago. The Thrill has been tracking reactions to the screening around the web, and they all seem to be pretty positive so far. So, without further ado, here’s our roundup of the public reaction to the movie, which was shot here this summer and employs, like, every drama major who graduated in 2011.
Slashfilm gave the film 9/10, calling Radnor a “mini-Cameron Crowe”. Their critic goes on to write:
Reading is of the utmost importance in Liberal Arts and the characters almost universally find that books say things better than they do. Of course, all the connections come from Radnor’s screenplay so he’s the true maestro.
Paste Magazine labeled it “the best film of the festival, at this point” when they wrote about it on Monday. In particular, they praised Radnor’s script:
[Radnor’s] such an openhearted and earnest writer, and the journeys his characters go on are, among other things, beautiful explorations of how life should be lived and understood.
But it’s not all great news. See the less-positive reviews below the jump.
But it’s not all good news for Radnor. The Hollywood Reporter writes that the movie misses its mark a little bit, and that “In the lead, Radnor comes across as alternately too naive or else annoyingly smug.” So basically he’s playing an English major. We kid, we kid, since English majors probably make up 50% of this blog’s readership. Also, we should note that he is actually playing a former English major.
A site with the credibility-lending name Film School Rejects says that the film might be a little too precious, but is in general a good effort.
Jesse is unsatisfied both with his life and with himself, but Radnor’s treatment of an early on-set mid-life crisis is more refined than it was in his previous work, and less glossed over with twee touches that seem unrealistic and detrimental to real growth.