User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 39
  2. Negative: 4 out of 39
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  1. ChadS
    Aug 30, 2009
    7
    Music wafts over a lake teeming with skinny-dippers. "Three days of peace and music" is unfolding at Max Yasgur's farm without us; we're not there to see Richie Havens open the festival, or anybody else take the stage, for that matter. That's because Elliott Teichberg(Demitri Martin) is always hanging around his parents, even after he takes his first tab of acid. "Taking Music wafts over a lake teeming with skinny-dippers. "Three days of peace and music" is unfolding at Max Yasgur's farm without us; we're not there to see Richie Havens open the festival, or anybody else take the stage, for that matter. That's because Elliott Teichberg(Demitri Martin) is always hanging around his parents, even after he takes his first tab of acid. "Taking Woodstock" will be a bad trip for those of you expecting nostalgia for dummies. Admittedly, there's no vicarious thrill in watching concert planners plan; we want Jimi; we want Janis, or rather, their thoughtful impersonators. The filmmaker acts as if he couldn't secure the rights to the music. The only live music in "Taking Woodstock" is performed by some amateur band at a warm-up concert for the locals. It's worse than watching Gwynneth Paltrow recite Sylvia Plath-like poetry in Christine Jeffs' compromised film(2003's "Sylvia") about the suicidal poetess. We want the real thing(real poetry, real rock lyricism) not some knock-off, as a payoff to all the minutae that went into mounting a large-scale undertaking like Woodstock. Told in the filmic language of Michael Wadleigh's documentary, the split-screen technique unintentionally parodies "Woodstock" instead of paying homage to the 1970 film, because what it documents seems so mundane and uncinematic. To our disappointment, the little people never give way to the stars. "Taking Woodstock" is limited by a protagonist who loves Judy Garland more than Joan Baez. Elliott's indifference to rock and roll forces the filmmaker to create a period piece movie without a glut of corresponding music as shorthand for establishing time and place. There's no Buffalo Springfield at his disposal; he achieves the look and feel of the sixties almost solely through "mis-en-scene", best exemplified in the scene where we see a late-sixties time capsule as shifting panorama, while Elliott is being escorted to the concert by a motorcycle cop. For what it's worth, "Taking Woodstock" succeeds, even though we're mad at Elliott for not getting us anywhere near the stage. Expand
  2. DavidK
    Jan 9, 2010
    4
    This movie is an unqualified disaster. The script makes no sense. You never care about the main character and his relationship with his parents and Dimitri Martin never conveys anything but a blank look. Compared to the weirdly dramatic emoting of his parents, it is, as one reviewer said, that they are not in the same movie. And in the end, despite Ang Lee's attention to the This movie is an unqualified disaster. The script makes no sense. You never care about the main character and his relationship with his parents and Dimitri Martin never conveys anything but a blank look. Compared to the weirdly dramatic emoting of his parents, it is, as one reviewer said, that they are not in the same movie. And in the end, despite Ang Lee's attention to the background details, the scope of the event is never conveyed. The one shot of the mass of people is unconvincing...It needed one large overhead shot or something....anyway, Ang Lee will be great again, but he is not here. Expand
  3. AdamL
    Oct 10, 2009
    2
    This was filmed like an amateur hour mini-series or something. I was constantly aware and annoyed by the meaningless split-screen shots. Basically its like a made-for-TV-movie with a lot of hokey "find yourself" cliches in it. And while we're on the subject of cliches, I counted over 12 different stereotype characters in this movie, ie: The Italian Gangster, Jewish Mother etc (you This was filmed like an amateur hour mini-series or something. I was constantly aware and annoyed by the meaningless split-screen shots. Basically its like a made-for-TV-movie with a lot of hokey "find yourself" cliches in it. And while we're on the subject of cliches, I counted over 12 different stereotype characters in this movie, ie: The Italian Gangster, Jewish Mother etc (you can count them yourself and play a sort of "Where's Waldo of Finding All the Cliche's in this film. ) I had a good laugh , and enjoyed the Liev Schrieber cross dresser characater though. (Cliche #6) . Don't see this movie, unless maybe you are taking your Mom from the Baby Boomer generation. She might like all the predictable cliches. Expand
  4. RobertT
    Sep 10, 2009
    10
    Incredible directing by Ang Lee. Ang Lee transported us in time, returning us and uncovered our thinly descised, still simmering bitterness, resentment and anger at the fascist, warmongering, fear mongering, capitalist pig establishment (industrial military congressional complex that sacrificed our young men in a totally unnecessary conflict / war (killing fields) where thousands of Incredible directing by Ang Lee. Ang Lee transported us in time, returning us and uncovered our thinly descised, still simmering bitterness, resentment and anger at the fascist, warmongering, fear mongering, capitalist pig establishment (industrial military congressional complex that sacrificed our young men in a totally unnecessary conflict / war (killing fields) where thousands of Americans and Vietnamese were shot, bombed, displaced, wounded and died. Those antiwar kids "stopped the killing", Man, they stopped the killing of people just because their eyes were not round like ours and their ideologies differed from most brainwashed Americans especially, capitalist, "dead jew on a stick worshipping lemmings" wrapped in the American flag and fighting for Jesus. Innocent kids were shot down at Kent State by the establishment forces. Remember Kent State, anyone? Collapse
  5. Ti-Tsai
    Oct 15, 2009
    9
    About 100 minutes into the film, at the end of the festival, we see the hill littered with garbage and alone stand the US national flag in the mud. A requiem for a dream or a token of pride? Ang Lee's seemingly light-hearted and facile approach to the big music event resonates with the contemporary ethos and pathos: the peripheral may speak louder than the mainstream; personal About 100 minutes into the film, at the end of the festival, we see the hill littered with garbage and alone stand the US national flag in the mud. A requiem for a dream or a token of pride? Ang Lee's seemingly light-hearted and facile approach to the big music event resonates with the contemporary ethos and pathos: the peripheral may speak louder than the mainstream; personal "history" may be eventually written into the GRAND NARRATIVE of history and thus create a dialogue or even hetroglossia. One of Ang Lee's best works! Expand
  6. JanY
    Aug 29, 2009
    9
    Just by looking at the film's title, it's as clear as daylight to see that the film is really not about the actual Woodstock concert! It's amazing that it has to take a Taiwanese Director to offer us Americans an insight to how the Woodstock Music and Arts Destival was taken from Walkill to Bethal. Ang Lee's film brings the characters in Eliot Tiber's book to life Just by looking at the film's title, it's as clear as daylight to see that the film is really not about the actual Woodstock concert! It's amazing that it has to take a Taiwanese Director to offer us Americans an insight to how the Woodstock Music and Arts Destival was taken from Walkill to Bethal. Ang Lee's film brings the characters in Eliot Tiber's book to life on-screening, exactly the way I had perceived the characters in the book. Even Imelda Staunton's Sonia is as weird, ill-bred, and manipulative as the book's character. While the book is congested with an abundance of events surrounding the childhood and adult life of Elliot Tiber aka Elli Teichberg, I am thankful for the adherence of the film story to events of Tiber associated to the origination of the festival. I would recommend Tiber's book to be read before seeing the film, and be alerted to the understanding that the film's characters are pretty much based on real characters, described by Tiber of himself and those who were around him or were involved in taking the Woodstock festival to Bethal. As a film based on Tiber's book of the same title, I was not in the least bit disappointed. The actors played their parts to a tee, not missing out on the personalities and traits of their role characters. Expand
  7. commentscomments
    Aug 31, 2009
    0
    This was a lazy, charmless, unfocused, first draft of a movie, with an unusual axe to grind against old jews, upstate locals, avant garde theater troupers and nearly everyone else who fell into the sites of the filmmakers. for the life of me i cannot understand why people as sharp as ang lee and james schamus would roll film on something so unfinished and immature.
  8. BethC.
    Sep 1, 2009
    8
    This is a charming, delightful summer breeze of a film. It's an interesting story of the background of Woodstock for anybody who lived through the 1960's, saw Michael Wadleigh's documentary, or is otherwise interested in the Woodstock festival. Ang Lee does a great job of evoking that place and time. There are some great actors in this, particularly Imelda Staunton, who This is a charming, delightful summer breeze of a film. It's an interesting story of the background of Woodstock for anybody who lived through the 1960's, saw Michael Wadleigh's documentary, or is otherwise interested in the Woodstock festival. Ang Lee does a great job of evoking that place and time. There are some great actors in this, particularly Imelda Staunton, who makes Elliot's iracsible, eccentric mother understandable and believable. Yes, Elliot never gets inside the festival grounds while the concert is going on, but most of the thousands of people who flocked to the area didn't, either. This film almost makes you feel like you're there with Elliot. This is not Ang Lee's best film, but it was more fun than anything else I saw this summer. Expand
  9. BillyS.
    Aug 31, 2009
    10
    2 hours of Peace, Love & Music, it's not Woodstock, but it's always in the vincinity of that historic weekend, just over the hill. At the shabby upstate New York hotel El Monaco, Ang Lee sets us on a beautiful, nostalic journey to the origins of the festival full of hippies, cops, drugs, and upset locals. Demetri Martin is wonderful as the young Elliot, who volunteers his 2 hours of Peace, Love & Music, it's not Woodstock, but it's always in the vincinity of that historic weekend, just over the hill. At the shabby upstate New York hotel El Monaco, Ang Lee sets us on a beautiful, nostalic journey to the origins of the festival full of hippies, cops, drugs, and upset locals. Demetri Martin is wonderful as the young Elliot, who volunteers his parents hotel to be home base for the promoters, Liev Schreiber is a scene-stealer as a transvestite security guard and Emile Hirsch as a Vietnam vet is heartbreaking. Taking Woodstock is a glorious celebration of its own and, may I add, that it has the best, most authentic acid trip ever captured on film! Far out man. Expand
  10. Sep 1, 2014
    2
    Blasphemy! Utterly preposterous to create a film revolving around Woodstock 1969 and have absolutely no moments of appreciation for the music. Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock is disrespectful to the greatest era of music by creating this odd-ball look at music's greatest weekend and failing to recognize key necessities.
  11. Feb 1, 2013
    8
    A wonderful pleasing film in which the reenactment of the event seems so vivid and accurate. It is entertaining and fun. This movie was never supposed to be just about the music.
Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. It's a low-wattage film about a high-wattage event. Which is somewhat disappointing, though you do get a thoughtful, playful, often amusing film about what happened backstage at one of the '60s' great happenings.
  2. 50
    You can’t deny the smiling mood that wafts through the film like incense, and to that extent it honors the original three days; but not once does a character’s show of feeling stir you, send you, or stop you in your tracks, and the loss is unsustainable.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    The picture serves up intermittent pleasures but is too raggedy and laid-back for its own good, its images evaporating nearly as soon as they hit the screen.