Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Julia Butters, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Al Pacino
Plot: A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.
Tagline – The 9th Film from Quentin Tarantino.
Runtime: 2 Hours 41 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Beautiful Look at Hollywood
Story: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood starts as we head to Hollywood in 1969, television actor Rik Dalton (DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) as we follow Rick trying to put his career back on track, he is shown the reality of his situation through his agent Marvin Schwarz (Pacino). Rick must face his own future in the business when he learns that Sharon Tate (Robbie) and Roman Polanski have moved into the house next door to him.
As we follow the three around LA, Rick working on another television appearance, Sharon watching her own movie in a theatre and Cliff stumbling in to the Spahn ranch where he once worked that has been overtaken by the hippies control be Charles Manson. With Hollywood being the home for dreams, Rick, Cliff and Sharon will end up having a night that will change their lives forever.
Thoughts on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Characters – Rick Dalton was once the star of a popular television show, now his show is cancelled, he has been left to work on guest spots usually playing the villain, the film roles have dried up and he must rely on Cliff to drive him around LA, he knows he is better than what he is getting and does believe that he will one day get a big role, he is a great look at how actors can see their careers turn into a rollercoaster in Hollywood. Cliff Booth is the stuntman for Rick, he helps drive him around town too, with he two being best friends. When he isn’t helping Rick, he cruises around town and isn’t far from breaking the law once again, he does seem grounded in this world and isn’t afraid to get into a fight, including challenging Bruce Lee. Sharon Tate is the beautiful actress that was on the rise to stardom, she parties with her husband and friend Jay and is the talk of the town. As for the rest of the characters, we meet actors of the era, on set members that help or hinder the roles for both Rick or Cliff and members of the Manson family.
Performances – Leonardo DiCaprio proves once again that he can become any character he wants with a performance that shows that he could be an actor trying to be an actor and know just how to play this role. Brad Pitt steals the movie with the personification of cool in every single scene he is in, the laidback nature and the relationship he has with his dog, just makes you want to see more of him. Margot Robbie looks perfect for the role of Sharon Tate, she doesn’t put a foot wrong even if she doesn’t end up having a big of a role that we are made to believe.
Story – The story here follows an actor suffering with a career identification that teams up with his stuntman to go in search for the next career move, all with the background of the growing actions of the Manson Family. This is a story that does feel misleading at times, firstly because it felt like it should be heavily about the Manson family murders, while instead that is just the background story, while we are much more focal on the idea that an actor is trying to rebuild his career. This does make everything feel more entertaining though, because we get to flashback to certain life decisions which might have left the characters in the position they find themselves in. if you are a fan of 60s Hollywood, you will get plenty out of this story which will be filled with references for the golden era of Hollywood.
Comedy – The comedy in this film flows through how Rick and Cliff get involved in everything, we will get laughs through certain things, without it being a laugh out loud comedy.
Settings – The settings for the film truly do put us back into the 1960 Hollywood era, be it the sets, the streets, the vehicles or the houses, it truly feels like we are there.
Final Thoughts – This is an truly entertaining Tarantino movie, it pays tons of respect to the golden era of Hollywood and will keep you laughing along the way.
Overall: Entertaining Respect to Hollywood.