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Taking Woodstock Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Hippies: clean, responsible, entrepreneurial. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal

    The gentle, ambling Ang Lee comedy that's a few tokes short of groovy.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    This is Woodstock from another perspective -- one without Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Lee captures the fractious, joyful, monstrously evolving mass it all was.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    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.

    Read Full Review

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Dramedy revisits famous festival, complete with drugs, sex.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this R-rated Ang Lee dramedy about the backstory behind the famous Woodstock festival is quite accurate in depicting the time period and the event itself -- in other words, there's plenty of drug use (pot, acid, etc.), nudity, and more. Since it stars comedian Demetri Martin, expect teens to be interested. But the topic and tone are definitely more geared toward adults.

  • Families can talk about the era depicted in the movie. What was it about Woodstock thatattracted the younger generation? Was the eventitself a tipping point for change, or was it emblematic of changealready under way?
  • Teens: Do you think the movie is an accurate presentation of what it was like to be at Woodstock? What do you think would happen at a similar event today, especially if drug use and sex were as rampant?
  • Why does Elliot help his parents even though his mother doesn’tseem to appreciate it? Or, if she does, why can’t she let him know?What makes him persist?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The movie's main messages are that you can't fight change -- but that change isn't necessarily bad -- and that you should follow your bliss (peace reigns, man!). Family is also shown as being important. The close-minded try to fend off a societal shift by attempting to cancel the festival, but a determined generation prevails.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: A son rallies around his parents and their town, even though it meansdelaying his own happiness. He's resourceful and hardworking, but alsohas lots of empathy for others. His mother doesn’t seem to have empathy for him, but she appears to come around somewhat, and he and his father forge a bond in the run up to (and during) the festival. One character hoards money to the point where she takes advantage of arelative’s generosity. She wakes up on the floor clutching herpiles of cash and will do almost anything to make an extra buck.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: One character flashes a gun attached to his hip. A man swings a bat at -- and later chases -- mobsters trying to shake him down. Some yelling between family members. A group defaces a property that belongs to a Jewish family, painting a swastika on it.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A fair bit of nudity during the festival (bare breasts and behinds; genitalia can be seen from afar). Heterosexual and same-sex couples make out in public, and there’s a scene that hints at a threesome, though it’s not made clear what exactly happens. One male character is a cross-dresser.

  • language false4

    Language: Frequent use of strong language includes "f--k" (many times), "s--t," "damn," "prick," "my God," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The movie acurately represents the time and place: There was plenty of drug use at the time (and especially at the festival), and some of it's shown here. Characters smoke pot, eat hash brownies, and trip on acid. There's also some drinking, sometimes to excess, in party situations.