Posts Tagged ‘Taking Woodstock’

Taking Woodstock

September 11th, 2009
Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Movie: Taking Woodstock (2009)

Studio : Film in Focus

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 110 min

Website : Taking Woodstock

Trailer :


As a lifelong fan of Woodstock-era artists like The Who and Jimi Hendrix, I looked forward to this movie, an uncharacteristically lighthearted affair from director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain). It’s inspired by the true story of Elliot Tiber (renamed Jake Teichberg in the film), a New York City interior designer who organized the iconic festival in order to save his parents’ failing motel.

One of the things I enjoyed about this movie was its focus on the work that went into putting on the festival. Amazingly, we don’t see any concert footage or meet any actors called on to play Hendrix or Joplin. It has a documentary-like feel in such scenes as when we see Teichberg (played by Demetri Martin) riding on the back of a cop’s motorcycle in order to get into the actual concert or when we see Max Yasgur (well-played by Eugene Levy) agreeing to let the promoters hold the concert on his land while offering them some of his farm-made chocolate milk. The film is at its best when we’re among the fans and we’re seeing the show put together. We meet some colorful characters during the journey, including Liev Schreiber as a transvestite security guard and Dan Fogler as the leader of a postmodern thespian troupe that lives in Teichberg’s parents’ barn and manages to cause a ruckus among Bethel’s more conservative types, who feared the hippies would destroy the town.

The film also includes some interludes involving Teichberg’s tumultuous relationship with his mother (Imelda Staunton), who kavetches throughout the film, while his father is more accepting and drinks beer with the hippies. While Staunton has some good one-liners, this part of the story feels underdeveloped, and the final scene doesn’t have the emotional impact for which it seems to be reaching. It feels secondary to the festival. Still, I enjoyed the film on the basis of the realistic crowd shots, the likable Teichberg, the vibrant supporting cast, and that groovy soundtrack.

-Craig Wynne

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