Monday, August 31, 2009

Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock is a pleasant diversion but not one of Ang Lee's better films. There are two principal problems. First, the main character, Elliot Teichberg, is so bland that it's hard to develop much interest in him. Second, his mother is so patently unpleasant from beginning to end that you can't muster any sympathy for her plight. (Near the end of the film, Elliot asks his father why his father has stayed with his mother for 40 years. His father replies, "Because I love her." This woman is so unlovable that you don't buy it for a second.) Furthermore, any film in which the second-tier characters are the most interesting (e.g., Liev Shreiber as the transvestite ex-Marine Vilma and Eugene Levy as dairy farmer Max Yasgur) is in trouble from the get go.

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