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Taking Woodstock


Ang Lee

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Plot Summary

Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee tells the story of the Greenwich Village interior designer who inadvertently helped to spark a cultural revolution by offering the organizers of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival boarding at his family's Catskills motel. The year is 1969. Change is brewing in America, and the energy in Greenwich Village is palpable. Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin) is working as an interior designer when he discovers that a high-profile concert has recently lost its permit from the nearby town of Wallkill, NY. Emboldened by the burgeoning gay rights movement yet still tied to tradition in the form of the family business — a Catskills motel called the El Monaco — Tiber phones producer Michael Lang (Jonathan Groff) at Woodstock Ventures and offers boarding to the harried concert crew. Later, as the Woodstock Ventures staff begans arriving in droves, half a million concertgoers make their way to Max Yasgur's (Eugene Levy) adjacent farm in White Lake, NJ, to witness the counterculture celebration that would ultimately make history as one of the greatest events in the annals of rock & roll. Imelda Staunton, Emile Hirsch, Liev Schreiber, and Paul Dano co-star.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 178
  • Fresh: 85
  • Rotten: 93
  • Average Rating: 5.4/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: Lee's first total miscalculation, his first wholly inessential film. – Richard and Mary Corliss, TIME Magazine, Jun 24, 2010

Rotten: It's harmless enough as a snapshot of a young man's awakening to the grand possibilities of adult life, but not particularly effective at capturing the spirit, the thrill or even the mud of this culturally monumental event. – Stephanie Zacharek,, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: This is very light material, and, unusually for a Lee picture, not everybody in the ensemble appears to be acting in the same universe, let alone the same story. On the other hand: It's fun. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: Taking Woodstock has the appeal of an inside story told from an especially good angle. But beyond that, the movie is a celebration of the way this event has gone into memory and of the meaning it has acquired. – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, Jul 7, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

I wish...

I wish my generation could unite in someway like this.....


Some viewers see the word "Woodstock" and expect something like a concert documentary, but the film is as advertised, and so much more. It's a unique take on the festivals, the locals, and the attitudes of the times. We really need to see Hendrix again? Why not just find a film ABOUT HENDRIX? Anyway, Ang Lee is a master and this film has some truly mind-boggling scenes and will leave you amazed that he was able to shoot them. Five stars, a great contribution to the collective record, fictional or not, of the times.

meandering, boring and pointless

First and foremost, there was barely any music in the film! There are also many multiple long and tiresome scenes that are both badly acted and badly cast. The first 30 minutes of the film are practically unbearable... the tranny security guard, the mother (straight out of the former tv show 'Mama's Family') and the Vietnam vet were all characters that seriously hurt the film. If Ang Lee preferred not to focus on the concert itself, and instead drove the film around a small town 'square' who experiments with his sexuality and with drugs for the first time during the course of the festival, then why not make that the sole focus of the film? He really missed the mark on this one! Sometimes I don't know what people base their ratings on when reviewing on here.

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