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Liberal Arts Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    A coming-of-middle-age comedy running on somewhat less than a full tank, Liberal Arts possesses enough comedic moments to approach crowd-pleasing status.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Liberal Arts is a parfait - a light, enjoyable concoction that goes down easily but doesn't linger. The movie is great "in the moment" but may be difficult to recall with any specificity after time has elapsed.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    An artful blend of tenderness and sharp, clear-eyed observations. Its characters talk like real people -- who also happen to be smart, appealing and thoughtful.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    There is a word to explain why this particular film so appealed to me. Reader, that word is "escapism." If you understand why I used the word "reader" in just that way, you are possibly an ideal viewer for this movie.

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  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Olsen, moody and apple-cheeked and intellectually avid, proves a true star: She turns being wiser than her years into an authentic generational state.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Thoughtful romance mulls impact of large age difference.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Liberal Arts centers on the budding relationship between a teenage college girl and a man in his mid-30s and looks at whether they can make things work despite the significant age difference. Don't expect any teen-sex comedy cliches -- this thoughtful film starring writer-director Josh Radnor (from the sitcom How I Met Your Mother) and Elizabeth Olsen, tackles the question realistically, and the couple works through their obvious attraction and the equally obvious hurdles they face. Expect some swearing and drinking, and one sex scene that takes place in the dark but has some very obvious sounds.

  • Families can talk about what Liberal Arts is saying about love and relationships. What's the impact of a significant age difference on a couple?
  • Should people get second chances when they make a poor decision?
  • Who do you think the film's target audience is? Why do you say that?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Love can strike anytime and anywhere -- but in the real world, not every pairing can work, even between people who get along wonderfully. This film examines the possibilities of a May-December flirtation between a young college girl and a man approaching middle age, who wonder whether love is enough to sustain them. They think carefully and thoughtfully about the implications and make well-reasoned decisions.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Jesse is clearly torn between his attraction to a charming, eager college student and his realization that she's 16 years his junior, and a relationship with her may not be good for either of them.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Not an issue

  • sex false2

    Sex: A college student discusses whether she should sleep with an older man. A couple has a one-night stand, with some brief sex sounds that take place in the dark. People are shown after having sex. A couple kisses warmly.

  • language false3

    Language: Relatively infrequent swearing includes "screw," "p---y," "sucks," and "screw you." Two people flip each other off.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: The film promotes Kenyon College, where it was filmed.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some drinking at meals and social events, and a bit more drinking at college parties. One woman lights up a cigarette after sex.