Multi-hyphenate Josh Radnor has had a real nice time at the Sundance Film Festival. His debut film, happythankyoumoreplease, premiered at the festival in 2010, and he just brought his second feature, Liberal Arts, to Park City this past January. Both films star Radnor as a shiftless twentysomething who is, for a variety of reasons, unhappy with his current lot in life. But whereas happythankyoumoreplease tended to feel too twee, too naval-gazey, too unformed, Liberal Arts showed a tremendous progression in Radnor’s talents and execution.
And now you can see it, too! IFC will release the film just in time for back to school on September 14 of this year. The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, and Zac Efron, and should be the perfect way to ease back into fall drudgery after the fireworks of the summer season.
Happythankyoumoreplease has already not aged particularly well, but Radnor’s in luck when it comes to his latest, as it’s far better and shows some swift maturation on his part – both as a writer and a director. In my Sundance review of the film, I noted that both films are “concerned with making connections in the modern world, and both center on protagonists who believe that those connections will help them grow up into the adults they feel they somehow should already be…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. Liberal Arts is a film about growing up and how that can be scary, but how it is essential and ultimately good. It’s a fine and appropriate message for a sophomore feature, and one that Radnor does extremely well by.” [The Film Stage, via /Film]