v v’s review published on Letterboxd:
At the core here is what would have been a pretty great movie. Unfortunately, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood suffers from excessive filler in the form of long drawn out scenes that add barely anything to the storyline. That with a disjointed plot gives you a likable movie, but that's it.
This is 161 minutes long, which is about 30-40 minutes longer than it needed to be. Is the extra filler bad? Not really, but 40 minutes of merely okay scenes in which their only purpose is DiCaprio filming stupid shit that could've easily been cut down to 20 or 10 minutes of that is pointless.
There's also the fact that the plot is unnecessarily messy. Everything does seem to connect in the end, but it's not done in a particularly smooth manner. It just feels like Tarantino was making 2 different movies and decided to awkwardly put them together at the end.
What about the good stuff though?
The dialogue is pretty well written and Leo and Brad do a pretty great job as co-stars. For 161 minutes, it was unnecessarily long but it wasn't entirely exhausting due to different ideas introduced and the story arcs of the characters. While the pacing was kinda wonky, the story itself got interesting enough in the second half for me to enjoy it.
Overall, it's an enjoyable movie. But there was a lot of wasted potential here.