Taking Woodstock

"Good"

Taking Woodstock Review


Lively and entertaining, this colourful film recounts the backstage story of the community that inadvertently hosted the 1969 Woodstock music festival. It has some great moments along the way, but as a whole never quite comes together.

Elliot (Martin) leaves New York City to go upstate to help his stubborn parents (Staunton and Goodman) keep their hotel in business. Then he hears that a friend from the city, Michael (Groff), is having trouble getting a permit for his music festival. Elliot happens to already have one in hand, so puts Michael in contact with a local farmer (Levy). And as he helps Michael make the arrangements, he never grasps quite how massive this event is going to be. But then no one did.

Lee is a superb director, and finds something resonant in every scene, drawing out telling details in relationships and situations while letting the actors create characters that continually surprise us, even though the size of the ensemble makes it difficult to get too far from stereotypes. In this sense, Staunton gets the least satisfying role as the narrow-minded shrew, while Martin is stuck with the nice-but-dull guy at the centre of the storm discovering who he really is and where he belongs.

Along the way, other actors get a chance to shine, including Hirsch as a shell-shocked friend just back from Vietnam, Gummer as Michael's free-thinking sidekick, Schreiber as a cross-dressing ex-Marine, and Dano and Garner as hippies who take Elliot on a mind-bending trip in their VW bus. The script is packed with snappy one-liners and witty characters, and it also has a nice structure that builds slowly to the enormous event. Although the pace is somewhat draggy and unfocussed.

Mixing real footage with some genuinely eye-popping recreations, Lee recreates both the groovy vibe and the sense that hundreds of thousands of people are swarming onto these fields. But the mass spectacle and the small story of Elliot's personal journey are at odds with each other, and neither one is very rewarding as a result. We wish we could feel the breakthrough Elliot experiences. But even more, we wish we could watch the performers on the stage.

But then we have Michael Wadleigh's seminal 1970 doc for that.



Taking Woodstock

Facts and Figures

Run time: 120 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th August 2009

Box Office USA: $7.4M

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: Focus Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 47%
Fresh: 85 Rotten: 94

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Billy, as Elliot Teichberg, as Jake Teichberg, as British Gentleman, as Sonia Teichberg, as VW Guy, as VW Girl, as Jackson Spiers, as Wilma, Lee Wong as George the Doorman, Anthoula Katsimatides as Esther, Clark Middleton as Frank, as Annie, Sondra James as Margaret, as Dan, as Carol, as Michael Lang, as John Roberts

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.