Ian Fastert’s review published on Letterboxd:
I don't know. It felt peaceful. Like a dream.
While I was watching Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I kept trying to criticize it, and tell myself that none of this had any purpose and that it's just wanking off the foot guy and Hollywood and people that will be 100 times more successful than I ever will be but every 5 minutes I'd realize I couldn't fight it. It's all in the mood I suppose. The narrative is weird and pointless, and the whole thing drags on and on, but every single scene fills you with this emotion that swept me away in some sense. It's not necessarily pleasant all of the time, but the scenes of attractive people driving and walking around in the summertime, the wind blowing them through life and the magic of the movies, it just hits me. It's beautiful, seeing them go through these little moments of joy and sadness and self-loathing, it just bounces back and forth through every single feeling and it all clicks somehow. These emotions also come through from the director, as he shows his love for cinema and loathing for the things that take away its purity (such as himself). The hatred Rick Dalton feels toward himself when he messes up on set feels very personal, a scene that began with some chuckles from the audience going on long enough to get genuinely uncomfortable. The movie also makes a mockery of the Manson family, which feels like it could be another way of Tarantino to get out his self loathing; is Sharon Tate Uma Thurman? Perhaps my vision of this man and his persona is too shrouded by what we now know of the events that happened on the set of Kill Bill and his association with the Weinstein's, but the intensity of the emotion here feels too personal to ignore. He's a gross dude, there's no doubt about it, but he seems hyper aware of that, and in watching these movies of his recently you can see him critique himself in all of them. Does that mean we need to watch it? No, I think we should put more effort into analyzing the work of lesser known directors who are better people (not to mention more diverse). But it's hard, when someone you know kinda blows makes movies you like, to stop. I wanted to stop here; Hateful Eight blew, and while I could analyze that movie as a Tarantino psychology as well, it's just nasty and unpleasant and not my kind of movie. I thought I was off. But this is the opposite of that, his anger is still here but it's dulled into a sad inevitability, creating this weird melancholia. It's like a long car ride with someone you love. And there are stupid fucking scenes, like the Bruce Lee scene which just pulls you out of it all, but over all it just imagines this world where things are good and the useless find a way for themselves again and the icons stay icons. I'm overrating it, it sucks, but it's also his second best movie probably? whatever, you can join me in yelling at myself for this