Parents' Guide to

Taking Woodstock

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Dramedy revisits famous festival, complete with drugs, sex.

Movie R 2009 120 minutes
Taking Woodstock Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 17+

Worst Woodstock Movie Ever!

THIS MOVIE IS TERRIBLE. Okay, I worn born in 1970, so Woodstock was something people talked about a lot, but I never could never appreciate. This movie uses Woodstock as the background, to tell the personal and semi-true story of one person's perspective. The first 30 minutes were an okay starting point, then the movie spirals downhill to the point of shear disappointment. This movie is so bad, It kept me away from movie theaters for months. I enjoy seeing art-house movies, but this may be the worst movie I have ever seen. If you want to learn about Woodstock, watch anything on PBS. If you are addicted to watching movies, this just may be the cure.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 15+

Not much happens but it's fun nonetheless

You know, it was a welcome treat to see a film about this seminal event that isn't about the event. The Jewish mother from hell, the "good" son and the gentle dad were all unlikely heroes at a time when peace was a lifestyle and people thought music could save the world. Not bad messages. Having said that you realize why everyone hates hippies. The only reason why this is rated R is because of the frontal nudity. I'd let my teen see it with the caveat that casual drug use isn't fun and games. There are some real casualties from that time in history. Some of them sleep in the park not far from our house.

This title has:

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5):
Kids say (1):

TAKING WOODSTOCK starts quietly, maybe even sleepily -- a little like White Lake before the hippies invaded. Based on the real-life Elliot Tiber's memoirs, the movie gains traction once the deal is struck between Elliot and his parents and Woodstock's organizers. Almost immediately, the film gains ground, and as Elliot blossoms, it does, too. Martin, a Comedy Central regular, quickly proves that he has chops beyond comedy -- he shifts from humor to pathos easily here, sometimes juggling both at once. In fact, the entire ensemble is excellent; Imelda Staunton manages to be sympathetic as a distinctly unsympathetic character, and, as a cross-dressing ex-Marine, Liev Schreiber completely sheds his hunkiness, tapping into a surprising femininity.

The film isn't director Ang Lee's best work, and it doesn't quite capture the late 1960s like his Ice Storm did the early/mid 1970s. Nevertheless, Taking Woodstock is worth watching, if only for the way Lee personalizes a moment so culturally familiar and deeply historic that it's become monumental. There's not much drama, despite local protests. The tension is more internal, as Elliot awakens from his dutiful slumber to discover there's a movement afoot that could liberate him -- not just musically, but emotionally and sexually.

Movie Details

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