Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

I can't even remember the last time I was compelled to see a modern film on back to back nights and, thankfully, I loved it just as much the second time around. Plays even better as a midnight show with a wild audience, with an intro from Quentin himself! Then he sat in the audience and watched it with us, which always makes for a surreal experience at the New Beverly.

It's odd to me that some people don't understand the function of Margot Robbie's Sharon Tate in this. Notice she is carefree, ethereal and completely untroubled for the entirety of the film, almost like a ghost or an angel. This is not a biopic, rather it's a somewhat fantastical version of her life, a fairy tale giving her the happy ending -- or continuation -- that she so richly deserved. (I mean, if the title didn't clue you into that...) At least that's my take on it. For what it's worth, it even got a stamp of approval from Sharon's sister, Debra.

From the director:

"I did a lot of research on Sharon and became very enamored of her. She seemed like an incredibly sweet person. When you talk about all the different friends that she had, even acquaintances that she had, they all tell the same story about her, about this unaffected beauty, just this reservoir of goodness and kindness. Now, that almost sounds to good to be true, but for whatever reason, as I’m reading all this stuff, I’m really buying it. Every account about her that I found backs up that version of her. Unfortunately, she’s kind of been defined by her murder. I thought the best way to get her across was not sticking her in a bunch of scenes with Roman or with other people where she’s a plot, but just hanging out with her, letting her drive around Los Angeles, do her errands, and just see where the day takes her. I wanted to show people a glimpse of Sharon before the murder, so they think of her as more than just a victim."

I suspect this is a film where different scenes will stand out upon every rewatch. In addition to that tremendous third act -- which has gone down like gangbusters at both screenings I've attended -- a couple of scenes really hit me this time: the scene between Bruce Lee and Cliff, which garnered perhaps the best reaction of the night, even getting applause from our audience; the others being the sweet little exchanges between aging actor Rick (DiCaprio) and child actor Trudy (Julia Butters). I can see the angle that this film plays out like a series of vignettes, but I could make that argument for pretty much every film Tarantino has made and, personally, I don't see it as a liability.

On a side note, I love that Anne Francis poster that Cliff has in his trailer. Where can I get one of those?

(Previous review.)

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