Year of release: 2009
Director: Ang Lee
Stars: Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Henry Goodman, Imelda Staunton, Dan Fogler, Liev Schreiber, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Paul Dano, Kelli Garner, Eugene Levy, Jonathan Groff, Mamie Gummer, Darren Pettie
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Synopsis:Ang Lee is back after one of his oriental ventures with his previous film, "Lust, Caution" (the director also did "Eat Drink Man Woman" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). Ang Lee decides to tackle this time Woodstock, and focuses on the experiences of Elliot Tiber, a young Jewish man whose parents own and run a degraded motel in the Catskills. Elliot is the head for the local Chamber of Commerce, and each Summer organizes a small music festival in hopes he will bring some attention to the local community and also bring some people to his parents motel (where he sends most of his own money to help them out). When Elliot hears that a hippie concert has lost his permit, he decides to contact the organization and inform them about their community. When it's decided to make that area the spot for the concert, things escalate and affect everyone, changing not only a generation but particularly Elliot's world.
A common thread throughout Ang Lee's films has always been the feeling of rootlessness that embodies his central characters, even in his most mainstream film that is "The Incredible Hulk". That is present again in "Taking Woodstock", where Elliot the main character, is trying to find his inner path, and also come out to his parents. His passion for Paul, the man he meets at the festival, and the liberty that the festival and the hippie movement represent, push him in the direction to be ultimately truthful to himself. The film is a gentle representation of what the movement was about, the chaos, the sheer impulse of everything, things that Ang Lee expertly represents. This film doesn't intend to summarize a generation and an event of such importance as was Woodstock, but it does show how a microcosms of many lives were changed and altered forever. He gets great performances from his actors as usual, notably the great Imelda Staunton, Liev Schreiber, Emile Hirsch and Demetri Martin. A film worth checking out.