Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

It would be really interesting to see how OUATIH would fare without the Sharon Tate scenes. As far as plot goes, the scenes are fairly inconsequential, but they seem pretty integral to the movie. The movie isn’t about plot; it’s about a time and place. Tate does so much to put a sheen on the film, I almost wonder if Tarantino is too reliant on her. The film has Tate pulsing the movie straight along, keeping us in the here and now of 1969,  as Rick and Cliff jump forward and backward in their lives. 

The Cannes journalist wasn’t kidding when she said Robbie didn’t get very many lines, but I’m not sure it would have benefitted the film for her to have more. Going in, I had the idea that Charles Manson’s presence would loom over the film as we propel toward that fateful night. But it’s Tate’s presence that reigns supreme, as her glow lightens even the darkest shadows cast by Manson and his hippie goons. In that way, it’s paying honor to Tate without taking it into caricature, like we see with other real characters.

As a white male, I know my perspective is from privilege; but I feel like Sharon Tate shouldn’t be looked at from a male/female perspective in this film. Robbie’s performance was about honoring Sharon Tate. Tarantino wanted us to feel Tate’s presence, not just hear it. To boil it down to gender is a bit disrespectful to the joy that is Sharon Tate. It doesn’t matter if she’s male or female. She’s Sharon Tate.

All of that being said, the film is the way it is. And the way it is is fucking great. Some of Brad Pitt’s best acting comes in a scene at Spahn Ranch, which may be Tarantino’s most suspenseful yet. It’s great stuff. It’s too bad Burt Reynolds wasn’t able to film his part; he would have been perfect.

DiCaprio is great, as usual. The rest of the cast is spot-on. Julia Butters makes her introduction as a force to be reckoned with moving forward, should she choose to continue acting. The cinematography isn’t typical Tarantino/Richardson, but it’s perfect nonetheless. And the production design? Hands down favorite to win an Oscar.

Stick around through the credits!

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