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Ang Lee Takes Woodstock

With the help of a Jewish, gay protagonist

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Taking Woodstock, Ang Lee’s adaptation of Elliot Tiber’s memoir about returning to the Catskills in the summer of ’69 to help his Jewish-immigrant parents save their motel (“his mother [Imelda Staunton, all mesmerizing rage] is a money-grasping neurotic, and his father [Henry Goodman, defeat personified] is just waiting to die,” writes The Stranger‘s critic), hits screens today. Reviews are fair to middling. Though the depictions of the counterculture and its clashes with the older folks lack the passion characteristic of Lee’s other works, “its modesty becomes it,” writes Stephen Holden in The New York Times, “given a subject that has become synonymous with overblown mythmaking.” In Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman regrets that instead of creating an Altman-esque tableau, viewers are mostly “watching Elliot, who is gay and scared, learn to give in to his feelings and defy his parents. He’s the ‘straightest’’ guy in the film (ironic!), but there’s a reason that no one at Woodstock ever chanted the slogan ‘Let the nice Jewish boy be free!’”

Concessions
[The Stranger]
What I Saw at the Countercultural Revolution [NYT]
Taking Woodstock [EW]

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Ang Lee Takes Woodstock

With the help of a Jewish, gay protagonist

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