Taking Woodstock


STARRING: Demetri Martin, Henry Goodman, Imelda Staunton, Eugene Levy

Field of dreams: from left, Levy and Martin

Most people have heard of Woodstock, the 1969 mother of all festivals whose “Peace & Music” rocked New York state’s Catskills for three blissed-out days. For Elliot Teichberg (Martin), on whose 2007 memoir James Schamus’s screenplay is based, conjuring the magic took inventiveness, serendipity and a splash of desperation. Home from his Greenwich Village interior-design job for the summer, Elliot is struggling to save his sobersides parents’ (Goodman and Staunton) fleabag motel when he learns that an upcoming music-arts festival is in sudden need of a home. After a deal is brokered with the canny owner of a neighbouring dairy farm (Levy), hippie-trippy mayhem descends on sleepytown.


Maybe it’s the source material but director Ang Lee’s take on the preparations has a haphazard, stoned quality, flitting here and there — sometimes in split and triple screens — like a flower child with ADD. It’s a scene of epic proportions when the barely-sighted fiesta takes off at last — something the movie never really manages to do. But hey, it has a spaced-out time trying.