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.

"What if I'm in the movie?"

I just want to watch Margot Robbie's Sharon Tate enjoy people enjoying films forever.

She really is underutilized, but I think decoupling Sharon Tate from her tragic death is something I think this movie does really effectively. I wish her experience in the film industry was contrasted with DiCaprio's Rick Dalton more. The film starts to set that up before Tartantino Tarantinos all over the ending. I really think the last half of this movie loses everything that makes it interesting. The exploration of trying to survive as the zeitgeist of an industry changes is so interesting, and it's just kind set aside in the end. Dalton's interaction with the eight-year-old, frustration in his trailer (bonus points for threatening to kill himself in the mirror), and his (over)reaction to praise really should have lead to more of a redemption or tragedy rather than being character development. However, these high points on their own make up for some of the stuff I disliked.

There was only one thing I really hated, and that was the need for Tarantino to add in the Brad Pitt killing his wife stuff. It serves to show that he's dangerous, but leaving us with just the flashback and little comment about the incident just left an unnecessarily bad taste in my mouth. It's like we're supposed to feel bad for thinking he's cool, but it feels so forced that I can't help but resent it. Also, the Bruce Lee scene... why? Like, why is it Bruce Lee? Is Tarantino trying to be smart by using the technique that the TV studios are using for Dalton on us? It's really not that smart. It feels more like lazy shorthand. All this fed into my confusion about the tone.

The start has a lot of comedy; then, the film gets into the pathos of the characters before ending on comedic hyperviolence. I think Tarantino manages these tone shifts much better in his earlier films because this is the first one where the shift just feels out of place. It comes off as 1969 Hollywood fantasyland far too much. So, I enjoyed some of the heart and the comedy, but the pieces just didn't fit together for me.

P.S.: Yes, this was the night Paul Thomas Anderson showed up with HAIM, so that was a lot of fun. However, the preshow was a bit disappointing since a lot of it is seen in the movie anyway.

KJKnow liked this review