Taking Woodstock: I've Got a Warm, Fuzzy Feeling...

Taking Woodstock

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Okay, so as I said before, summer is coming to a close. What better movie to see it out with? I came out of this movie with an entirely different feeling than I expected. I think it was a good movie to end the summer with, both nostalgic (well, not for me- I'm too young, although I can appreciate the sentiment) and positive. I could very much appreciate the uplifting spirit of the film, which centers around a young man named Elliot Teichberg (played by comedian/writer Demetri Martin) who hosts the famous music festival to help bring income and prestige to his community. He ends up being moved and changed himself, and as someone who has been through the experience of moving away from my parents and needing to figure out who I am, I can relate to the need for independence and his need to start his own journey (which he discovers as a result of the concert). 

I have to say right off the bat that there is some fabulous acting in this film. Imelda Staunton is completely believable as Elliot's Russian-Jewish mother who runs the family hotel, and although you want to scream at her for some of the things she does in the film, the way she plays the character is just captivating. I felt this really intense pity for her toward the end. My absolute favorite character was Billy, a Vietnam vet haunted by flashbacks, played wonderfully by Emile Hirsch. Hirsch plays it in such a way that you're actually legitimately scared of him while still wanting to see more of him in the film. He's so intense, creating a balance to Martin's calm and laid back demeanor. 

Though a bit slow at times, and cliched (a film about the 1960s that contains an acid trip?! No way!!), I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and also that it is one of the most colorful films I've seen in a while. It had a unique documentary style that drew you in so that you wanted to notice and take in everything that was going on onscreen. Ang Lee, who directed the film, used the Split Cam style to his advantage, so that while we followed Elliot and could see what was going on in his world, we could also see actual footage of the festival, or other conversations that drove the plot along. The style just seemed to click perfectly with the spirit of the film, and I wanted to watch everything at once. Lee brought me in in such a way that I felt as though I was there, seeing the festival, and I never thought twice about it. Nor did I remove myself from the experience or feel like I was watching a film. 

I think the thing I appreciated most, however, was the humor. There is a smart, biting quality to the jokes, and Demetri Martin does a wonderful job at delivering. I'm still not sure how I feel about him as an actor, but his comedic timing is great (something you would expect from a comedian). The jokes have a satirical quality that almost makes you think Lee is poking fun at the whole hippie culture that existed during this time period, and I almost died laughing when the resident theatre troupe performed their "modernistic" piece (which consisted of them stripping naked in front of an audience and being chased offstage by the hotels owner and Elliot's mother). 

Overall, I thought this was a touching, humorous film, something you would expect out of an indie where everyone is laboring for "peace, love and marijuana." I've been trying to think of the right word to describe how I felt coming out of this movie, and I think the word is "warm." It made me feel warm inside (as cheesy as that sounds), and now that I think about it, it makes sense. The film (and I quote directly) is about "three days of peace and music," and forgetting about having to worry about money, war, and all the other "evils" that drive our society. So I would say, definitely go see it to feel good inside about the joys of summer as summer is coming to a close. You won't regret it. 

Peace and Love,

The Movie Mistress

No comments:

Post a Comment