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'How I Met Your Mother' star Josh Radnor revisits his college years -- and his college campus -- in new film 'Liberal Arts'

When actor Josh Radnor visited his alma mater in spring 2010, he was struck with a realization that hits many 30-somethings returning to their colleges – that the current students walking paths and studying in the same halls he had about 15 years prior looked so young.

“It was just this startling moment when I realized that I was nearly twice as old as the students there,” Radnor said of visiting Kenyon College to screen his directorial debut, happythankyoumoreplease. “It was really strange because my memories of college are so vivid. I felt like I was just there yesterday, and suddenly I was looking at these students saying, ‘We weren’t this young when we were here in school.’”

The How I Met Your Mother star then took that sentiment and turned it into an audience favorite film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Liberal Arts, Radnor’s second directorial endeavor, premiered at the Utah festival in January and began rolling out in theaters this weekend. (You can watch the trailer here.)

Liberal Arts, which Radnor also wrote and stars in, was shot at Kenyon College and in its surrounding village of Gambier, Ohio. Making the film gave Radnor the opportunity to both revisit his alma mater for the summer 2011 shoot (where the film crew stayed in student housing and ate in the dining hall, and current students filled several roles in the production and as extras) and also to delve into themes of nostalgia and change and what happens next after four years of a liberal arts education. READ FULL STORY

'Liberal Arts' trailer: At last, the hipster 'Back to School'!

A couple years ago, How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor wrote and directed happythankyoumoreplease, a pleasant dramedy about melancholic New Yorkers suffering from melancholic New York Problems and learning about the redemptive power of children/folk rock. Radnor’s new movie, Liberal Arts, looks to be constructed in a similar vein. Radnor plays Jesse, a thirtysomething who hasn’t quite achieved all his big dreams. Jesse returns to his liberal arts college in Ohio to celebrate a professor’s retirement… and winds up falling in love with a hyper-articulate sophomore played by Elizabeth Olsen. So basically, this is exactly what your life looks like, except with more Elizabeth Olsen. Watch the trailer: READ FULL STORY

Sundance: Elizabeth Olsen is a total star in the super-sharp college comedy 'Liberal Arts.' Plus, Frank Langella makes 'Robot and Frank' delectable fluff

Elizabeth Olsen, who was last year’s Sundance It Girl, deserved the terrific reviews she got for Martha Marcy May Marlene. But since the character she was playing was such a spacy languid cult baby, a young woman who’d smudged out her identity and was trying to get it back, the movie still left me wondering: Did Olsen, skillful as she was, have much of a personality? Was she really a star? If, like me, you weren’t sure, then the college comedy Liberal Arts answers the question: She is every inch a star. This dryly affectionate and super-sharp movie was written and directed by its leading man, Josh Radnor, who is like Paul Rudd’s puppyish kid brother and who has cast himself as Jesse, a menschy, bearded 35-year-old admissions counselor in New York City who returns to his leafy, idyllic Midwestern liberal-arts college to help honor his favorite English professor (Richard Jenkins), who’s retiring. READ FULL STORY

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