Willow Maclay’s review published on Letterboxd:
"There’s a scene in Quentin Tarantino’s newest film where Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is explaining the plot of a book he’s reading to a child actor (Julia Butters) who has shown an interest in DiCaprio’s aging, almost-was, maybe-superstar. DiCaprio is really wonderful in this scene, he always is, and plays it like he’s really listening to her. It’s a different register than he would have taken if he treated her as a child. He gets really choked up when he realizes he and the character of the book might have more in common than he initially thought. The book’s an old western. It’s a story of a man who could break any horse he’d ever come in contact with when he was in his 20s, but after damaging his hip he isn’t quite what he used to be and he’s struggling with the realization that his time in the sun may have passed. Earlier on in the movie Rick Dalton talked to a foreign studio head played by Al Pacino, about how his career was being subtly diluted by playing the heavies on television week in and week out. Dalton’s been putting over a new breed of stars as he makes his way out of Hollywood and out of the movies. He could adapt or die and Pacino’s producer character wants Dalton to try his hand in Spaghetti Westerns while reinventing himself into a new kind of anti-hero in the coming decade for an entirely new audience. But back to this book, its important to note that Dalton’s in the middle of it, the front cover folded in a way that breaks the spine entirely, and he’s not sure how this story is going to end for this master of horses. He might have fight left in him or his best days might have passed on. Dalton can feel the weight of those two options bearing down on him too, and DiCaprio plays it with a slouched tiredness of a weary man at the end of his rope, but ultimately Dalton’s unsure. There are days to live and pages to turn. If he closed the book now the ranch hand has options, his fate not written in a cheap paperback, his ending only up to Dalton’s imagination. This is optimistic, but the irony of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is we know how this story ends, and no amount of revisionist history can re-litigate the sands of time. It is the only film Quentin Tarantino has made where cinema and genre aren’t enough. History and the context of violence in the real world forces this movie to tell the truth."
I liked the new Quentin Tarantino film and you can read my review here:
www.patreon.com/posts/once-upon-time-28720258 ($4 patrons)