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Liberal Arts - 11/10/2012 1:41:48 PM   
Empire Admin

 

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Undeniably sweet but contradictory... - 11/10/2012 1:41:48 PM   
Buttercup87

 

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Joined: 23/8/2012
It's an enjoyable watch and Josh Radnor is endearing enough as our retiring hero. The standout performance is by Elizabeth Olsen who plays 19-year old Zibby, the most interesting parts of the film come when they discuss issues of growing up and being at college, she from one side of the fence and he from the other. The film however contradicts itself slightly in that he appears to be both mature and immature at various points in the film, and the logic doesn't always make sense. After a romantic courtship via hand-written letters between New York and Ohio, full of discussions of classical music, Jesse returns to Ohio and Zibby invites him to stay over in her dorm room. She confesses that she's a virgin and he is immediately (and literally) hands-off, telling her, in a patronising fashion, that he respects her too much as a person to have sex with her. However he then scampers off to a bar to have casual sex with another of his old professors (played with withering aplomb by Alison Janney) while a heart-broken Zibby drowns her sorrows at a party before apparently heading off to have sex with some inconsiderate undergraduate. It's difficult to like him after abandoning her in this manner. As my boyfriend eloquently expressed it, he really should have boffed her when he had the chance, they'd both have been happier for it.

The film is interesting as a point of view on differences in age and gender, but sadly as a romance it is rather lacking. I was hoping for a 'love across the generation divide' story but it resolves itself in a remarkably dull and slightly abrupt manner that is unsatisfactory. As a director why spend the best part of a story having your hero and audience fall in love with a girl, only to siphon him off to someone else in the last 20 minutes. The film also suffers from a distinct cheesiness and over-simplification at points. However I can forgive it this for its moments of brilliance - the 'vampire novel' discussion between Zibby and Jesse is unden

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