Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

This is the feel good movie of 2019. I was transported to 1969, an iconic moment in American history of war, drugs, sex, spirituality, civil rights, music, where the world was alive with change and anything seemed possible, and we were the heroes of our mind. It takes place in Hollywood, the fountain of icons and stars, an endless summer of color and sunshine. This is an American fairytale. Tarantino makes us yearn to be there as he shows us its glory and satisfies that yearning with a cocktail of experiences that invades the senses. 

This is all well before I was around, but this is my 1969, this is what I will believe about that time and place.

This to me is better than any other QT film by a mile. I enjoy his films but I felt like they suffer due to his obsession with craft, bending everything to fit his aesthetic. This is a perfect marriage of the two. It has everything you expect from him, but matured and aligned — all the puzzle pieces fit this time.

DiCaprio is flat out amazing. He has so much nuance to his character, so many little things that make him the person Rick Dalton. When Cliff is driving him into work and he wakes up in the car, it’s perfectly believable. His grogginess, his stutter, his lack of self confidence as he walks in the shadow of his former self. You can see it all in every moment because he is it. The scene where he explodes at himself in his trailer? I love him so much.

The music in this film is fantastic, and the way QT melds the film of that time with the story is superb. There are a number of scenes where a radio or TV is in the background and is layered on top of the scene creating this blending of worlds, the story we are watching and the film and mood of 1969.

The story within stories, the records we keep, the fairytales we tell ourselves and how we remember the past, and does it matter? I couldn’t help but think of someone stumbling across this movie in 500 years and assuming that these are the facts and looking up Rick Dalton to see what film he did with Polanski afterwards.

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