Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★½

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

This review may contain spoilers.

Story triumphs over style.

Technically, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood might be one of Tarantino's weaker efforts. None of the cinematography blew me away, it seems extremely standard in fact. Some of the editing and storytelling is also extremely choppy and muddled. There's a scene showing Sharon Tate (being played by Margot) going to see her new movie, and inside the theater, Tarantino had Margot reacting to movie footage featuring the real Sharon Tate. This was done as a tribute- which is nice and all- but super confusing to anyone watching who doesn't know the story beforehand. Although none of the technical aspects are "bad" by any means, in fact it's all still pretty acceptable, I'm just tough because of how flawless Tarantino's other movies are on the production end of things. Now to the positives, and you guessed it- they completely outweigh the negatives.

As they say, story is everything, and boy is it true here. The dialogue is witty as ever- and new to Tarantino- emulate immense love & warmth. The setting is beautiful & vibrant.

Most importantly, however, is Rick Dalton & Cliff Boothe. This is one of those movies that'll make you wish you could step inside of the world they inhabit just so you could sit down and have a drink with these two. Maybe my favorite character duo ever put to screen... never have 2 fictional friends felt so realized. Almost everyone I know seems able to indentify with them in some way. Everyone knows a Cliff Boothe & a Rick Dalton. Cliff is the guy who gets shit done and never complains when doing so, and he isn't a total meathead. However, he also has some regretful stains on his past. The wife backstory is incredibly intriguing and gives the character so much depth. Now yes, I'm the Rick Dalton of my friend group, but I take it with a badge of honor. Sure, he has drug problems & is a whiney bitch, often expecting others to do the dirty work for him. But at the end of the day, watching him spend all night memorizing his lines in the pool and in his interactions with the young child actress, you realize the man truly has a deep passion and work ethic for his craft that allows him to provide for himself, and Cliff, who would otherwise be completely broke and out of a job. Not only that, Rick's whiney nature also leads him into being a man with a heart of gold, one who wears his emotions on his sleeve, a character trait I actuallt love to see portrayed on otherwise "manly men."

However, given this movie is basically aimless and just a slice-of-life set in 1969, I can see how some will find it extremely boring if they don't quite connect with the characters of Rick and Cliff. I don't understand those people whatsoever. But yeah, absolutely adore this movie, one of Tarantino's greatest.

Jacob Ferguson liked this review