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.

The flip side of The Hateful Eight. Where Eight is filled with anger, Hollywood is filled with compassion. In this one everyone is filled with love, even the antagonists. But I can't imagine the essence of that love being channeled from anyplace more than Quentin's love for cinema itself. If the fact that this is a movie with a movie star protagonist set in the home of movies during a key moment in movie history isn't proof enough, the cinematic indulgences inherent to Quentin will be. This is a film with changing aspect ratios, split screen, voiceover, wild crane shots etc. etc. But countering that indulgence of the theatrical, Quentin also goes to the other end and allows a mellow grace of natural human tendencies. We're offered long lasting shots of people just walking down streets, time spent watching a guy cook, a fella opening a can of dog food, and so forth. Less theatrical, more real. And it works superbly well with the incorportated themes, and this world, and these characters.

Speaking of, he loves these characters - fictional and real alike. Although there's a lot to say about Leo and Brad's great Rick and Cliff, I want to look the other way. For me, the best thing to come of Quentin's latest creation is what it does for Sharon Tate. It brings a normalcy to the woman in the loveliest of ways. She had passions, loves. She made her own choices, had her own hopes. And here, when she sits in that dark theater, watching another her on the screen, feeling proud of her work, nothing else is relevent, just the joy from a woman who has earned it. It's such a sweet moment, enveloping a permanent purity to Sharon. The entirety of her scenes are a brilliant tribute to her, and it culminates with a bittersweet ending.

Quentin does it. A changing of time which immortalizes an innocent woman. A sequence that is a necessary fantasy to both reflect on and ignore an evil reality. A chance to rest on hope and the compassion which has trickled throughout the whole of the picture. A slice of peace that occurs when life is reduced to simplicity, to a common action like an introduction to a neighbour, a hello to a new world...

Because that's what cinema can be. A couple hours for us to reflect on time, fix mistakes, hang out with friends and spread some love. And sometimes something like that is more essential than we realise. Thank you for a new favourite, Quentin.

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