Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

Couple the relatability and seriousness of Jackie Brown with the stylized revisionist history of Inglorious Basterds and one will find Once Upon a Time .... in Hollywood not only being peak Tarantino, but arguably his best film.

The picture is not what it seems; it's a story about the true friendship of a fading movie star and his faithful stuntman that is anchored by Margot Robbie's rich turn as Sharon Tate, who in this film is the heart; she's everything. She is the physical embodiment of the hope and purity of the 60s. Robbie is an absolute delight in the picture. She is the emotional core that binds the narrative together; all else is just moving pieces in the background of the impending doom that awaits.

Populated with seminal mainstays led by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen, James Remar, Zoë Bell, and Bruce Dern - and new faces like Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Luke Perry, Margaret Qualley, Mike Moh, Damian Lewis and Al Pacino that fit right into Tarantino's cinematic world, and feel right at home.

The screen pairing of DiCaprio and Pitt is as charming as Newman and Redford, as authentic as De Niro and Keitel, and as funny as Lemmon and Matthau. They are perfect for one another, and are insanely fun to watch together. They are two men finding themselves symbolically codependent, yet at a stage in their careers and lives being shadows of their former selves.

Tarantino signs his love letter to the pop culture era that birthed his passion, and tended and grew it with a tremendous amount of care and respect. His passion, his devotion to everything that he is as an artist is in full display. There is a vulnerability to the film, that he has never quite conveyed before. He opens himself up and takes on a journey of what his story would have been in 60s Hollywood.

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