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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Review of film: “TAKING WOODSTOCK”


Review of film:  TAKING WOODSTOCK 

     –  Peace, Love & the Changing of many Lives =

Rating: 9 of 10 stars (based on an advance screening).

  Ang Lee has put together a film with wonderful atmosphere, fascinating details & a melange of moods…

 Rather than telling the story of the main music performances at 1969’s Woodstock festival in upstate New York, he concentrates on the preparations for putting it on. Centerpiece of the situation is the run-down El Monaco motel owned by harpy Sonia (IMELDA STAUNTON) & her usually-silent husband Jake (HENRY GOODMAN), who have painful memories of escaping from conflicts in Europe…

  They’re assisted at the motel by their artist son Elliot (DEMETRI MARTIN) who heads the town council & has a permit to hold an annual music Festival.  Billy (EMILE HIRSCH) is Demetri’s buddy who’s been badly affected (by flashbacks) after fighting in the Vietnam war…

 When a location planned to host a separate Festival near Woodstock cancels its permit, Demetri is recruited by old friend Michael (JONATHAN GROFF) to use his contacts and permit to get the site switched to the nearby farm of Max Yasgur (EUGENE LEVY).

… As work proceeds on holding the Fest, Demetri starts to open up to elements inside & outside himself, as does his Dad (who starts to live more thanks to the young people arriving for the event), assisted by cross-dresser security person Vilma (LIEV SCHREIBER)…

 The main actors are very good, the scenes of the increasingly-psychedelic world of the peace-loving Hippies are effectively flavorful, and the “trip” is historical and memorable…

 This is the type of film you might well want to see twice to appreciate all the numerous varied elements interweaving to make the appetizing whole.     

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