Dennis Duffy’s review published on Letterboxd:
Easily Tarantino’s funniest and most emotional, maybe even his best. I still love JACKIE BROWN and INGLOURIOUS BASTARDS too much to say that definitively yet but there’s a reason I’ve come back to this so much since it came out last summer, and that’s because of how composed and mature it feels when compared to the rest of his filmography.
Much like THE IRISHMAN last year, there’s this sense of coming to terms with the passage of time and looking back on the impact you’ve had thats runs deep through the film. Because of that, Tarantino wants to do nothing more than just hang out with his friends. Sit on a couch and watch FBI, go to a theater and see people admire your work, or even just drive around L.A and take in the scenery.
We get to follow these characters just being people for 2 hours before everything comes to a head. The suspense builds because we know something with the Manson family has to happen making us care for Rick, Cliff, and especially Sharon that much more.
Then there’s the ending which has to be the most bonkers climax in a film I can think of in the past couple of years. I could understand how people could take issue with it but to me it’s just set up and paid off too well to find fault in. Also has anyone ever delivered a line better than how Leo says hippie in this? Like anytime he says it I just start laughing like an idiot. I wish I felt as strongly about anything as Rick Dalton does with hippies.
So yeah the ending. It’s incredibly bittersweet, not representing anything literally for Rick or his future. With this movie, Tarantino recreated his own dreamlike vision of the movie business in the 60s. It’s a fantasy version of what Hollywood was or could be and to me the ending represents that idealized view of it living on by righting a historical wrong.
In reality, the Manson murders symbolically put an end to that and thrust Hollywood forwards into the cynicism of the 70s and while I don’t think Tarantino wishes to erase that and all the great work that came from it, I think he’s trying to save that romanticized view of Hollywood that in our version of history symbolically ended in a brutally violent crime.
Even then he knows that’s not how it went down and at the end after history has been altered yet again you can’t help but feel a bit of sadness.