Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock

(MA) Universal DVD

This film is inspired by the true story of Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin), a Jewish man working at his parents’ motel in White Lake, New York, who inadvertently plays a pivotal role in the notorious Woodstock Music Festival in the summer of 1969.

His parents, both painfully stingy, cannot run their motel profitably or meet their mortgage repayments and find themselves bitter and jaded — in direct contrast to the joyous, carefree hippies who end up invading their motel and town.

Thus begins a story of transformation.

As the nomadic hippies converge on White Lake, they bring life and all the usual hippie fare into the insular town: drug taking, tree hugging, free loving, and anti-’Nam protesting. It makes for an entertaining movie though perhaps not one for the socially conservative.

Taking Woodstock may make you want to “free your mind, man!” or it may scare you off the ’70s era entirely. Regardless, it does not lack realism: we get to see the businessmen behind the event, reminding us that the hippie movement is an ideal only ever partly realised.

Of interest to the Christian viewer is the brief but comforting voice of Christian support rather than dissent; a minister who sees in Woodstock the opportunity for contemporary community outreach.

After all, much of hippie culture aligns with Christ’s teachings on non-violence, environmental stewardship, and freedom from social conformity and the almighty dollar.

Wild, feel-good and indie-licious, Taking Woodstock is a comedy that is not only groovy, but also “far out, man!”

Megan Graham

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