Taking Woodstock

Rated 3.0

Director Ang Lee delivers an equally enjoyable and frustrating film about the mechanics behind and during the Woodstock festival. Demetri Martin plays Elliot Teichberg, a role loosely based on Elliot Tiber, the real life figure who helped organize the 1969 concert with the permit he purchased for his small Catskills motel music fair. The movie doesn’t focus on the music of Woodstock; in fact, you only hear some of the concert from far distances because Elliot never truly makes it to the festival. Instead, it’s a hit-and-miss comedy about coming-of-age and out-of-the-closet, featuring decent supporting work from Liev Schreiber, Emile Hirsch and Eugene Levy. I think it’s funny that we never get to see the show (hell, just rent Woodstock), and Lee does a good job depicting the traffic snarl and total chaos of 500,000 people in upstate New York. Still, some of it does come off as a bit cliché, especially the depiction of Elliot’s parents, played in cartoonish fashion by Henry Goodman and Imelda Staunton.