When neurotic, struggling songwriter, Catherine Brown’s life in New York City falls apart, she is forced to confront her past when she spends the summer at her childhood home in Woodstock, New York, learning that becoming successful means becoming your true self first.
“Always Woodstock” is a wonderful love story that is very evocative of the feelgood, romantic movies of the 90s. Films like “While You Were Sleeping”, “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill” immediately come to mind and while “Always Woodstock” is absolutely and positively 100% predictable, it works because of its engaging script and its charismatic cast. Catherine (Allison Miller) is an aspiring singer/songwriter who lives a very uneventful life in New York City where she works at a record label. When her bosses put her in charge of looking after their biggest and most important client, Jody (Brittany Snow), a spoiled-rotten English pop-star, she feels like things are finally beginning to look up but on the night of a big show, drunk and emotional, Jody refuses to perform so Catherine has to resort to physically carrying her to the stage so she can finish her concert.
The next day however, her bosses inform her that she is fired for physically manhandling their biggest client and as she arrives home early, she finds her actor boyfriend Garret (Jason Ritter) in the shower with his dialect coach. With no job and no boyfriend, she decides to move back to her hometown of Woodstock, where her parents left her the family house. While there, she meets the town’s handsome doctor Noah (James Wolk) and when they first meet, there is undeniable chemistry but having just been burned by her ex, she decides to keep her distance. Naturally, that doesn’t work out so well as they are both smitten with each other but when she meets Lee Ann (Katey Sagal), a local music legend that she grew up listening to, she helps her get back to her roots so she can grow into the singer she was destined to become.
Allison Miller simply shines as Catherine and is very reminiscent of a young Kate Bosworth. The indisputable magnetism between her and Noah is one of the many aspects of the film that keeps it perfectly balanced between caricatural and practical and the dialogue and synergy between the entire cast is flawless. Director Rita Merson manages to infuse some terrific moments of necessary humor along with the heartache and sadness that accompanies every relationship and their fluctuations. Rumer Willis constantly delivers in each movie I see her in and this is no exception. This is one of those rare movies that hits every note perfectly and I cannot wait until it comes out on blu-ray so I can watch the making of the film and interviews with the cast and crew. Very highly recommended.
In select theaters November 14th
For more info about James visit his website at www.irishfilmcritic.com