Joyce Heinen’s review published on Letterboxd:
It’s the end of the 60s and we meet television actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth. Dalton sees his career fade and has to deal with the villain roles in cheap TV pilots.
Dalton’s next door neighbors are director Roman Polanski and his beautiful wife Sharon Tate. And when you think of Hollywood in 1969, you think of Charles Manson and his cult, who left a trail of blood in L.A. at the time.
When Tarantino’s ninth film was announced, and it became clear that the ‘Manson family’ was a part of it, people were afraid that he was going to exploit the murder of Sharon Tate. But Tarantino wouldn’t be Tarantino, if he didn’t use his revisionary spin on it and mix fiction with reality.
If you would ask anyone what “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is about, I don’t think many people could give you an exact answer. Because it’s mostly people talking and it’s more ‘a day in the life’ kind of story. We follow Cliff who is on his way to feed his dog, we see how Sharon Tate visits who visit a theater to watch her own movie. It’s a hangout-film, who can mostly be compared to Tarantino’s “Jacki Brown”. But even better.
Most of Tarantino’s movies are very violent. And overall, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” isn’t a very violent film. But when you get to the final twenty minutes, the violence gets really violent! And this scene is simply brilliant.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is definitely Tarantino’s funniest film, it can in fact be called a comedy. Even Leonardo DiCaprio is funny here. He shows great and awkward moments, where he feels an insecurity inside thinking his hay days are over. But the best part of the film is definitely Brad Pitt, as Cliff Booth, who I will say is one of Tarantino’s best characters. At first he seems like just a stunt double to DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton, but digging deeper he is a more complex character. And Pitt is hilarious in his role. Margot Robbie, who plays Sharon Tate, doesn’t get that much to do. And I would say that some of her scene could have been cut, without it having any effect on the story.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” definitely didn’t disappoint and it’s up there on my favorites list of best Tarantino movies. A great portrait of the golden days in Hollywood and in my eyes the most beautifully shot Tarantino movie.