Woodstock or Bust is the feature debut from director Leslie Bloom and co-writer Judi Blaze. The story revolves around Lorian (Willow Shields) and Meryl (Meg DeLacy) as they prepare themselves for a once in a lifetime trip to Woodstock to kickstart their careers as singer/songwriters.
The film takes them on a road trip where they encounter lots of new people, experiences good and bad and find out more about themselves and each other as underlying tensions start to rise in their friendship that they always believed was really close.
However, the film is not just a light hearted road trip filled with moments of female empowerment. The filmmakers take the time to talk about the issues that were surrounding America at the time, particularly in reference to the Vietnam war, setting the film apart from other films set in this period that may want to just focus on the peace, love and good times.
Instead, the film portrays a more realistic view of what it was like to live in the latter part of the sixties and how the political background was playing on young minds.
Shields and DeLacy play well against each other and although their tight bond may seem forced at times their chemistry is evident, making the audience hope for the strength of their friendship to pull them through hard times. Along the way, the pair encounter many kinds of people but the film never treats them like a particular type of teenager, giving both Lorian and Meryl their own distinct personalities.
This is in no doubt down to the lead’s fine performances, which make them both stand out at different time when the story requires it of them.
Woodstock or Bust is a breezy summer film that sometimes takes its audience down paths that they weren’t expecting and the film is all the better for it. There are times were the political commentary may seem a little heavy handed but the bond between the aspiring musicians is what really drives the film. Director Leslie Bloom clearly had a vision when making the film and it very much comes across as a teenage Thelma and Louise, being able to talk about the bond between women and some of the darker issues that are as relevant now as they were in the Sixties.
A charming film with a great soundtrack and some wonderful performances, both dramatically and vocally, with some original songs that you may find humming to yourself long after the film has finished.
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