Watched this on Netflix the other night and was pleasantly surprised by some excellent casting and a feel good story with a better ending than anticipated. There were some funny parts and some thought provoking moments. Movie watching doesn’t get much better than that.
Jesse (Josh Radnor) introverted and uninspired 35-year-old admissions officer at a school in New York, recently dumped by his latest girlfriend, is invited to speak at a retirement dinner in Ohio for a former college professor. He goes back to this nostalgic place where his life held the most passion and promise to face some truths and revelations about himself. He encounters some influential people in his quest for connection and meaning in his life. (Josh Radnor wrote the screenplay, by the way.)
Peter Hobert (Richard Jenkins) the retiring professor who is second guessing his retirement. (Nobody feels like an adult. It’s the world’s dirty secret.)
Judith Fairfield (Allison Janney) One of Jesses favourite teachers – brilliant, but cold, cynical, and condescending. (Put some armour around that gooey little heart of yours.)
Nat (Zac Efron) free spirit visiting a friend, killing some time, navigating life at university on his own terms. (Don’t say no – fortune never smiles on those who say no.)
Dean (John Magaro) intelligent but angst ridden undergraduate student, always with his nose in a book, seen as a younger more self-destructive version of Jesse himself, depressed and suicidal. (I kind of just wish this would all be over with as soon as possible. Why did you love it here so much?)
Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) seemingly wise beyond her 19 years, embarks on a relationship with Jesse. (Age is a stupid thing to obsess over. What if reincarnation is real, huh? Think about that – what if I’m like thousands of years older than you?)
Ana (Elizabeth Reaser) the clerk in the bookstore back home who has been patiently waiting the entire movie for Jesse to finally notice her. (I want to be an old lady with long, gray hair in a ponytail….and I want a really, really wrinkly face….and a small house, maybe by some water. I think getting old could be really nice.)
This film contains classical music and references to great works of literature. And no real violence or nudity or bad language. So I guess it’s not for everyone.
Why You Should See It Anyway:
All the acting is good, but Elizabeth Olsen shines. We get to look at life from the points of view of three different age groups. Zibby wants to rush forward into her future, Jesse looks back in order to find out how to move forward, and Peter finds himself looking back and wondering what happened, regretting that there is no going back.
Zibby: I sometimes feel like I’m looking down on myself. Like there’s this older, wiser me watching over this 19-year-old rough draft, who’s full of all this potential, but has to live more to catch up with that other self somehow. And I know I’ll get there. It’s just sometimes I think I want to rush the process, you know? And I don’t know, maybe – maybe I thought you were some sort of shortcut. Does that make any sense?
Jesse: If I wrote you, I would be like, “This is the best rough draft ever.”