29th Sep 2012 3:57pm | By Alasdair Morton
Ted from How I Met Your Mother’s sophomore filmmaking outing – as writer and director – is a decidedly sweet and astute comedy-drama.
Radnor is Jesse, an academic and bookworm struggling with how his life has turned out as a college admissions clerk. Asked by his favourite professor to return to the grounds of his educational enlightenment for the teacher’s retirement,
Jesse finds himself smitten with Elizabeth Olsen’s 19-year-old student Zibby, who reinvigorates his lust for life and opens up a few home truths for him, too.
An acting-your-age rather than coming-of-age tale, it offers insights into the anxieties of the teen finding themselves in the world, the 35-year-old wondering where his youth, and all its promise, has gone, and the retirement-facing academic (Richard Jenkins), who’s worried he may have become institutionalised and won’t have a place in the world outside of academia.
The performances are top notch: Radnor is subtle but with depth, perhaps resulting from an obvious personal affinity with the story, and Olsen is stunning, proving herself an adept, engaging actress with real screen presence. Jenkins, too, excels as the professor having second thoughts about calling time on his career.
But for all the solid writing and performances, it lacks a little creative sparkle behind the camera.
Radnor emerges confident and assured with his actors and the script, but he’s a little less effective in bringing it all to life visually. When the aforementioned are both so strong, though, this is a minor gripe.
Good for: Learning how to act your age, whatever age you might be.
Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins | 12A | 97mins