The Taking Woodstock Movie Review

( would like to thank Sean and everyone at The Embassy Cinema in Waltham Ma, as well as LandMarkCinemas in Boston for their support to the site and the amazing screenings they are so gracious to allow us to be a part of.)

Taking Woodstock is Ang Lee’s take on the most pivotal and instrumental concert in American History. It has more to do with the story leading up to it that you don’t ever here in the story of Woodstock

Demetri Martin is Elliot Teichberg, a young man who can’t seem to make anything he does work out correctly. Like instead of being put down by “The Man” he is constantly put down by life. He is home at his parents run down motel in upstate NY trying to get their affairs in order to try and “Save the farm”. When he see’s that the producers of Woodstock keep getting kicked off of venues he see’s it as an opportunity to use his natural resources to help them (and himself) out. When Michael Lang (Jonathan Groff),  a cucumber cool producer, shows up with a peaceful wisdom, he gives Elliot a confidence in himself that only a clear business/hippy can give you. His mother is absolutely hell to live with and makes everything impossibly difficult, while his father shows he has given up on life without saying a word
Ang Lee, the director of the magnificently gorgeous Brokeback Mountain, took the wild party that was 3 days of peace, love and music and made you see the wet, muddy beauty in it that came along with the mindset that was 1969. Half a million people showed up to love life and be themselves while facing their own persecutions.

Two scene stealing character’s are Leiv Shreiber’s cross-dressing bodyguard Vilma. As well as Emile Hirsch, as a shell-shocked, wild eyed Vietnam war vet, an old friend of Elliot who is trying to find himself among the peace and chaos that was Woodstock. These characters are lost in the beginning, but by the end, this epic show has showed these people what was really going on in the world around them, and even quite possibly what they should be.

Woodstock gave half a million people a reason to live, and then when it was over, which some people never thought would happen, left a listless generation not knowing which way to go from there. You see it in the faces of the burned out generation as they walked away from the pages of history that they, themselves, unknowingly wrote.

But Ang Lee has done it again. I felt like I was there and that I understood the time, the emotion, the passion, something you will never see again in life. While I laughed out loud I knew deep down inside that we could be told this story a hundred times and I will never know what it was truly like to be at Woodstock. Feel life alive around me, living it full to the brim and spilling over into that part of your mind when even though you lived it, touched it and smelled it, you still feel like your enveloped in a dream…

These are the events that shape and mold history until they are unchanging and not moldable. Sometimes on the edges of your subconscious and treading the dark corners of your mind, you can find that feeling and hold it for just a second. Those are the moments that make these movies feel as real as your memories of it.   4/5 stars




Category: Film