2014 has been a good year for redemption-through-music stories, with high points such as God Help the Girl and My Little Pony: Equestria Girls — Rainbow Rocks and lesser efforts such as Rudderless.
Rita Merson’s Always Woodstock lands somewhere higher up on the list, and not just because any film justifies its existence when it gives Katey Sagal a chance to sing. After a very bad day in which she gets fired from her position as a burgeoning executive at a major New York record label — this right before discovering her fiancé with another woman — twentysomething Catherine (Allison Miller) decides to move upstate to the family home in Woodstock.
She intends to follow in her late parents’ footsteps and become a songwriter, and is aided by quirky (but not too quirky) barista/bartender Emily (Rumer Willis), as well as reclusive local singing legend Lee Ann (Sagal). After belting “Love Is a Battlefield” at karaoke, Catherine also has a drunken meet-cute with hunky town doctor Noah (James Wolk). Unlike the tonally muddled Rudderless, Always Woodstock chooses comedy and sticks with it.
The rom-com elements don’t always work, and the conclusion is a bit pat, but Always Woodstock is never less than charming and funny along the way.