JORDAN’s review published on Letterboxd:
Once upon a time…the 60s lasted forever.
Tarantino’s latest film is being called different from the rest of his roster and I agree with that statement. However I do not see that as a wholly negative thing as other critics seems to lean on. It’s different, sure but it’s still good, it’s still made by Tarantino, a master filmmaker. It’s a slice of life kind of film and a day in 1969 Hollywood is something that highly appeals to me. While the plot is pretty much in the background with the Manson family, this is a very character based film. And it works very well, at least for me because the characters in this are so well realized and fleshed out. Some of the best Tarantino characters to date I think.
You’ve got Leonardo DiCaprio who hasn’t been in a movie since his Oscar win, giving a career-best performance in this as Rick Dalton. He’s washed up, and I love how shrimpy in this he is. Every time he cries, it’s the funniest thing ever and he cries about five times in this movie. He should get a nomination for that trailer scene alone, it’s so good and funny then dark and depressing then funny again. It’s so much to juggle with one character and it works. He even matures and goes through an arc about what it means to be an actor.
Then you’ve got Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth who is equally as good as DiCaprio in this. Love the scenes of him driving at ease through Los Angelos, I think that perfectly sets up his character as drifter, a man at peace with who he is. his Mac & Cheese sounds just as disgusting as the Dog food he plops in the bowl but that his life. Tarantino plays a lot with contrast in this with Dalton striving for fame unhappy with his life and Sharon Tate enjoying where she is in her career. You’ve got Cliff loving his dog then Roman Polanski coldly shooing his away with a ball. I thought it was neat how these characters went different paths but they all paralleled each other.
Margot Robbie is great as Sharon Tate in this with just her presence. It’s important to focus on how full of spirit she was because it just makes the ending that much better. The film is about heading into a new era but still perceiving the spark that Tate represented. I think another viewing is required and I’m gladly ready to watch this again. My main critique, as it’s been through most of his filmography is that this needed just a trim in editing. It’s a long movie and you do feel that at times with its slow pace.
Overall though, its a new Tarantino film in theaters and that’s cool, so I recommend. Its good, its really funny, has a groovy soundtrack and surprisingly wholesome. A film about a fantasy that could have been and should have been to distract from the real world and its troubles. In the end it asks the question, what if the 60’s lasted forever? And we do not really know what that would have been like but as the movie implies, it was off to a very good start.