Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

I think the main reason this has been so divisive with fans has to do primarily with fact that with this film, Tarantino fully acknowledges the potentially problematic aspects of his brand, but without relinquishing his own creative ethos. It’s not a movie “for” anyone, like his previous works. The way the film takes its sweet time developing fully formed characters and a living, breathing world is mature and restrained in a way he’s only ever come close to with Jackie Brown. What’s more; it’s all in service of completely tearing that reality down with its simultaneously glorious and gut wrenching anti-climax.

I was incorrect to say that the hippies are didactically in the wrong in this movie, I think that the dialogue Tarantino is trying to open about Hollywood’s politics and violence in the media is much more open ended than I gave it credit for. Pretty much the epitome of a “have cake/eat cake“ movie; the fantasy is enrapturing, but is always undercut by the brutality of Cliff’s violent implulses — which almost always go too far — and through how drastic the tonal shifts between Hollywood fantasy and the film’s reality feel. The irony of the “happy” ending is just amazing in how it revels in its own catharsis, but also in its one dimensionality. Probably one of my fav postmodern films both in praise and criticism of fantasy fiction, and who better to make it?

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