Review There’s Always Woodstock: Reading the other reviews for this, I have to smile ruefully. Saying a film has absolutely zero merit is completely understandable – expected – with soulless box office cash cows. I mean, it isn’t really – considering people have toiled tirelessly and put in insane hours to create it, and at least one person in the cast is probably insanely invested in it and will cry their little heart out when they read the reviews – but it’s understandable. Because it’s just a product.
When it comes to little hopeful offerings like this one – an idea some budding director has probably had for years, worked so hard to get made, and probably never expected it to – it’s not only a little cruel but stupid.
Because you can tell the director of this little film, Rita Merson, cared a lot about making it. “I watched ‘Pretty Woman’ and it was all over,” says Merson. “I became a connoisseur of the romcom.”
She made this with a recently broken heart. That went into the making of this film. As cliché as it is, getting your heart broken is still one of the most intense, multi-layered and transformative experiences of grief and longing in existence. So, no. I have a heart, and that automatically makes this film something to me.
That doesn’t mean it’s a very good film. It doesn’t pretend to be. It’s warm, strange, neurotic and often desperate, but it doesn’t try to make any great Statement about love and music and self-discovery. It does what you want a little romcom to do – tell a story and make you laugh and feel things. And it does that just fine.
I was sometimes frustrated watching it. It was light. Sometimes frothy. The subject matter, under the hand of a more indie director who takes themselves a little too seriously, could have given something a little more raw and meaningful.
But this was sweet. The lead actress was wonderful to watch, very different. Her neuroticism, meant to make you fall a bit in love with her, worked. She wasn’t too adorable. I liked her, and her voice, if it’s hers, and forgave her for seeming to know absolutely nothing about music or authenticity.
Sometimes the dialogue was hilarious. Never inspired, never Nora Ephron, but original and laugh-out-loud. Almost every encounter with the doctor, who wasn’t bad himself.
I’m just saying. It had a heart. It made me feel things. It was fun. It was warm and sparky. It cheered me up. And her voice is very good.