This movie is based on on the delightful memoir of Elliot Tiber ‘s sleepy hometown in mid state New York that gets awoken with arrival of the many hippies et al who made the journey to the infamous Woodstock music festival.
Elliot is back in his hometown of Catskills to try and revive his parents failing El Monaco motel. Despite putting most of his earnings over the past few years into enterprises to keep the motel afloat the bank is wanting to foreclose on monies owed.
Through the local Chamber of Commerce he is granted a permit to stage an outdoor concert as he did the previous year when he played some of his records to some of the locals. Upon reading in the local paper that the Woodstock music festival has virtually been run out of a neighbouring town he naively contacts the organisers to offer his parents motel and land as a possible venue. Things escalate from there.
The movie is a behind the scenes look at roots and evolution of Woodstock. It is a relatively light hearted look at the dynamics of parents who really have no energy or vision for their motel and a son who has been doing his best to make things work because doesn’t want to see it sold off by the bank and his parents left penniless. It is a journey of relationships and interactions in an exotic environment such as that created by the phenomenon of Woodstock.
Ang Lee the Director (also Broke Back Mountain, Sense & Sensibility to name a few) said before the premiere of Taking Woodstock at Cannes Film Festival
“Woodstock has a symbolic meaning to me. It’s the innocence of a young generation departing from the old establishment and trying to find a more refreshing way, more fair way, to live with everybody else … but you have to give those kids, those half a million kids credit, that actually, they had three days of peace and music. Nothing violent happened. I think that’s something. I don’t know if we can pull that off today.”
I also liked Screenwriter James Schamus comments “there’s a different look to today’s young people, with their passion for fitness and disdain for pubic hair. When you think about it, a generation of people who weren’t fat, who weren’t staring at themselves in the mirror all the time, and not shaving everything off down there, it captures the difference of 40 years right there.”
Reviewed by: Linda McGlynns
Starring: Demetri Martin, Liev Schreiber, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Emile Hirsch, Paul Dano, Imelda Staunton, Eugene Levy, Jonathan Groff
Directed by: Ang Lee
Genre: True Story, Music, Historical, Comedy
Duration: 1hr 50mins
Rating: [R16] contains nudity, drug use and offensive language