“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is the ninth and last (according to Quentin) Tarantino film. As Tarantino is my fellow Knoxville, Tennessee native, I, of course, have to support him in his artistic endeavors. The film is set in 1969 Los Angeles at the time where Old Hollywood meets new Hollywood. Rick Dalton and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth are having a hard time keeping up as studios who no longer need a faded Hollywood western film star from another era.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt (you may remember him from his acting debut we discussed on yesterday’s review), two of Hollywood’s favorite golden boys, star as Rick and Cliff. The two could not have been a better match. Their dialogue flows seamlessly and their friendship transcends reading a script. Their lives in the film are noticeably different, but we get to watch as they are figuring out what to do next in life. As The New Yorker described, “…his (Tarantino) movie is a loving dramatization of the power of certain kinds of actors…” Who knew we needed to see Leonardo DiCaprio in his bathroom drinking a margarita use a flame thrower during a home invasion, and Brad Pitt smoke an LSD laced cigarette and take down a few Manson followers.
Yet, here we are.
Leave it to Quentin to enlighten us.
The film is fictional, of course, although the names and events are similar to true stories. Dalton lives next door to directorial legend Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha), and his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). Charles Manson did visit their home and his followers did live on an abandoned ranch outside of L.A. There are also several other historical facts from that time period that Tarantino brilliantly weaved through the fictional characters of Rick and Cliff. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood can be described as “Tarantino’s love letter to a lost cinematic age.”
“When you come to the end of the line with a buddy who is more than a brother, and a little less than a wife, getting blind drunk together is really the only way to say farewell.” – Narrator, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is not for everyone: Rotten Tomato reports a seventy percent audience score as well as an eighty-five percent critics score. However, if you want to see the historical landscape of a bygone era starring some of the best talent of our modern time, written by one of the most unique, artistic directors and screenwriters in Hollywood then you have come to the right place.
The ending is one of the most comical of Tarantino’s films and most memorable. I like that there remained a bright spot, pregnant Sharon Tate, amid the actual shocking, horrendous times the film highlights.
“Once Upon a Time…” takes us back in time to Old Hollywood and, no, it was not perfect, but neither is today. However, they were people, too, just like we are. Like it or not, Tarantino put his heart and soul in a masterpiece that will be remembered for years to come.