mariadees’s review published on Letterboxd:
Cliff Booth: alright, what's the matter partner? Rick Dalton: it's official old buddy, i'm a has been.
"now it’s time for what you've all been waiting for"... Quentin Tarantino's 9th film: Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
Our favorite controversial director gives his love letter to the late 60's era Hollywood that he grew up in. it's more of a slower paced film about the day to day lives of those in the industry and friendships made through hard times. there are no lengthy monologues but instead each moment of dialogue gives us insight to our three main characters. i really enjoyed that aspect of it, usually Tarantino is a lot punchier, but this one wants to make us laugh and give us more of a feeling than anything.
there are two storylines that we follow, happening concurrently: our main duo is Rick Dalton (Leo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Then a smaller story following Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). Where with Sharon we are mostly watching her live her daily life + Tate may not have much dialogue, but you feel how pure of a person she was, and did not deserve the things that ended up happening to her (in real life). Cliff and Rick are trying to work in an industry that doesn't favor them, that is the real heart of the story. their friendship is the sweetest and best part of this whole thing - Pitt and DiCaprio just knock it out of the park.
i'm not going to say how the ending is changed, but i lovedd the way that the Manson storyline was incorporated and ultimately handled. i felt like i knew how it was going to end but ended up being surprised, and even at one moment, caught off guard 😆. when you get to the end, you see just how much ground work had been laid throughout the film. tying a lot of plot moments together, and giving a perfectly executed conclusion.
do i wish that all the cameo's had more dialogue? definitely. could it have been trimmed down a bit? sure. but i'm not sure what should have been cut, as it all seemed to set the atmosphere more than anything.
so, while this may not be my favorite Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds will probably never be beat), i really enjoyed it. i loved seeing Los Angeles transformed into a forgotten era, making me feel like i was there during that time, putting my window down with Cliff in that So-Cal breeze. the story made me laugh, get nervous for characters i quickly grew attached to, and left at the end with a smile on my face. so i'm pretty happy with it.