Taking Woodstock is not what you might expect, but it remains beautifully realistic and skilfully composed.
There has been a lot of critics towards this film because woodstock left a (sometimes too) precise image in man’s memory. With time, Woodstock has become a symbol of an era when rebellious youth rose up alongside innovative music to defy common thoughts on war and sexual orientation. Today, we remember it as a period of emancipation for the western world, when the hunger for freedom and harmony was at a peak.
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This year is the festival’s 40th anniversary but Taking Woodstock is not so much of an hommage as we could have expected. That explains why Hollywood Reporter critic Kirk Honeycutt wrote “it’s a low-wattage film about a high-wattage event, which is somewhat disappointing.”
Sex, drugs and rocknroll are not the main focus in Ang Lee‘s film. Yet I didn’t feel Taking Woodstock was a disapointement. At least, Lee was original enough to surprise his viewers. Taking Woodstock is a comedy with an incredible realistic touch. Emile Hirsh (Into the Wild) is perfect in his role, Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) is hilarious, and Demetri Martin makes a great debut.
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Although you won’t hear Hendrix’ guitar reefs, the atmosphere and moods of the period still feels quite well transcribed. Taking Woodstock might not be an acid trip, but it’s a true life experience on the path of growth and self-awareness.
My verdict: Interesting, funny and worth seeing.