Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★½

This movie does benefit from second viewings especially if your expectations were high before. I would say I had a good understanding that the story wasn’t the main focus and maybe even because of that I felt that none of the characters were that interesting. But now I was actually invested in Dalton’s arc and through this appreciated DiCaprio’s performance more. But with this viewing most of my complaints highlighted.Outside the Dalton arc there was nothing to keep you tied to the narrative because there was none. So basically the first half we were just cruising along the streets of LA. Everything took so long to start and while the style kept me entertained during my first watch there were moments I was actually bit bored. Cliff was typical Brad Pitt role and while charming in its own way he came off as an asshole. I didn’t have the problem that they “praised” his character but I could see why it would bother someone. Robbie got no acting to do here and could have been replaced with anyone. Pitt and DiCaprio had way too little screentime together, I think it was like 4-5 scenes. I liked their relationship more this time because I got into Rick’s character but that screentime bothered me.

I hated the climax whereas before I only tolerated it. Sure it had Tarantino’s satire and funny tone and similar idea of the Hitler scene in Inglourious Basterds but he has done that so many times before and this time it was really heavy handed.

Despite my complaints I liked it better overall. I laughed more, enjoyed those references and certain scenes which felt out of place before. One thing that hit me in the face was the final scene. I felt the tragedy in my bones and Tarantino’s longing for something that should have been the reality. The melancholia and sadness of that end washed over me as I walked out of the theater. I got more personal understanding why Tarantino wanted to make the film other than his love of filmmaking, the time period and homages. Actually now writing this I truly feel for Tate in the movie. She didn’t have a lot of moments but they were used effectively in the light of that ending. (Well, maybe the party scene with exposition wasn’t good.) Expanding that feeling to other moments as well - crazy how those subtleties and layers didn’t touch me the first time around.

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