I Would Never Be Elizabeth Olsen’s Friend In Liberal Arts, But Her Performance Does Steal The Show

After obsessing over the Olsen Twins every day of my life for several years, I immediately liked Elizabeth Olsen. As soon as I found out she acted, I became her biggest fan and most vocal advocate. “Yay Elizabeth Olsen!” I’d say to everyone, despite being too scared to ever see anything she acted in. Martha Marcy May Nightmares!

But then I saw the trailer for Liberal Arts and grew giddy at the fact that I could finally watch one of her movies with both my eyes open. It didn’t hurt that How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor wrote, directed and starred in the film.

While I’m not the biggest HIMYM enthusiast, I really enjoyed his directing/writing/acting movie debut, Happythankyoumoreplease. It touched my heart in all the right places and I left the movie wanting to marry him. And truth be told, that’s the mark of a successful movie in my mind. If you leave wanting to marry a character, then they did something right.

Josh Radnor plays Jesse Fisher in this movie, a guy who could be very closely related to the not-a-boy-but-not-yet-a-woman character he played in Happythankyoumoreplease. And tell you what, I’m okay with that. It’s always nice to catch up with the men you aspired to marry. Even if they’re going through some kind of midlife crisis while visiting their college in their 30s.

But enough about the man-child. Let’s get back to my gal pal Elizabeth Olsen. She shines in her role as Zibby, a super precocious college student who’s totally over college guys. In fact she’s so over them, that she attempts to seduce Jesse Fisher. 16 year age gap be damned.

After meeting on the campus while Jesse’s visiting for the weekend, they start exchanging sexually charged letters about classical music. It’s weird, but it works.

However this is what makes me say that Zibby would never be my friend. She’s everything that people thinks a liberal arts student is — a smart girl who believes so strongly that she’s right that she can state her opinions like they’re facts. That she knows all there is about life and love after taking a classical music class. You can just picture her sitting at her Thanksgiving table, starring down her family members with the knowledge that she’s so much more alive than them. So much more aware and  capable and ready to take on life.

Of course, just like in real life, Zibby learns that being a liberal student is amazing — but it’s also misleading. You don’t know everything after all. Taking one amazing class sometimes isn’t more than one amazing class. . Love may be within your reach, but you may never be able to grasp it.

And that realization for both Zibby as well as Jesse combined with wonderful acting make this movie so good. It’s like reliving your own personal postgrad revelations through more beautiful people. So needless to say, I highly recommend you go see it this weekend.

Then follow it up with a classic Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie marathon. You’ll just feel good inside. I promise.

(Photo: IMDB)

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    • Kate

      But isn’t that the point? That you wouldn’t be her friend because (presumably) you are NOT still a college student? I think most people who are 20-22, and in college, are that exact kind of “I know everything there is to know about everything!” person. It’s a part of growing up. And sooner or later this character graduates and learns stuff and becomes a multifaceted human adult. That’s why you feel like LESS of an adult in your post-grad years, because you go from thinking you know everything, to realizing that we’re all just chugging along as best we can in this crazy world. I would probably be her friend, but more so when she’s spent a few years in the world.

      • Jenni

        Yes, I guess it just made me realize how obnoxious college students can be. As much as you love your friends when you’re there, you sometimes look back at the things you did and said and thought. Zibby reminded me a lot of that. Although I never went through a classical music phase.

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