Critic Reviews



Based on 35 critic reviews provided by
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.
This likable, humane movie is not an attempt to recreate the epochal Woodstock Music and Art Fair captured in Michael Wadleigh’s documentary “Woodstock.” It is essentially a small, intimate film into which is fitted a peripheral view of the landmark event.
This is Woodstock from another perspective -- one without Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin.
The movie hits its stride when it deals directly with the concert. The more peripheral Elliot is to the story, the better things become.
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.
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.
It's a frustrating complication of a movie with a sprawling story and grand ambitions -- and some truly grand acting -- that stumbles almost as often as it soars. Bummer.
Village Voice
Little music from the concert itself is heard. On display instead are inane, occasionally borderline offensive portrayals of Jews, performance artists, trannies, Vietnam vets, squares, and freaks.
Lee and Schamus make history blandly palatable; in the process, they rob the times and the people they’re portraying of their complications.
Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock achieves an amazing feat: It turns the fabled music festival, a key cultural moment of the late 20th century, into an exceedingly lame, heavily clichéd, thumb-sucking bore.

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