Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Alternative title: Charlie Manson's Angels

I haven’t loved a Tarantino film like this since I was 12, watching Inglourious Basterds with my parents and brother.

It wasn’t my first film of his, I remember vividly sneaking into the room we kept our computer and watching Pulp Fiction in the middle of the night because I had heard it was “adult” and “disturbing”, and I loved it immediately. Quentin was one of the first director’s whose filmographies I sought out to complete. But, predictably, as I got older, I soured on him: I disliked Django Unchained, flat out hated The Hateful Eight, for reasons I’m still unsure (probably because the infinitely wise and world-weary fifteen-year-old Maggie found it immature).

Which is funny, because the word I kept coming back to in describing OUATIH in relation to Tarantino’s oeuvre was “mature”, mature to me in that I never really felt as though I knew the man behind the camera. He loved movies, so did I, and he made movies that I liked for the most part. I never sensed him in his movies. His trademarks, style, aesthetic, yes, but him? Never. I always thought of him as his infamous Pulp Fiction quote, “Just because you’re a character doesn’t mean you have character.”, that was Quentin, an animated character, that’s what his movies were, characters. But this is the first time I saw he had character. This film has a different kind of soul, an odd almost off-putting peace and love to it. It’s slower, larger, transfixing: really looking into the eyes of another being.

That soul, that maturity and love foreign to the hyperviolent works of Tarantino comes entirely out of Sharon Tate, and the world tied on a string around her finger: that is what the film is, just the world with Tate in it. Violence looms in the audience’s minds, with the charismatic Manson girl, Pussycat, with Polanski and Tate. That maturity that I felt was in existing between the violence, not constantly building up to it, not driving a plot with it, just creating an atmosphere. Part anxiety, part serenity. The crackling radio, hazy, smoky air. Sometimes things just happen, all at once, a long time ago, far away and nearby. It’ll just happen.

2 additional thoughts:
1. Margaret Qualley is God.
2. That Mrs. Robinson needle drop is god-tier.

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