Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood: Episodic Tarantino Film Has Laughs, Gory Ending

3 out of 5 stars (average)

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Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood is the newest film from Quentin Tarantino, and it’s unlike any of his others.  He isn’t exploring any deep themes, giving us nuanced characters, or making a statement about old Hollywood.  With this film Tarantino has gotten many of his previous collaborators together for a fun, episodic romp about the day-to-day lives of Hollywood hopefuls, with mostly enjoyable results.  Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood is no classic, but fun performances, good writing, and a wild ending make it worth seeing at least once for Tarantino fans.

We follow washed-up TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), his pervy stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt having the time of his life), and Rick’s next-door neighbor and actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie).  Rick and Cliff are seeking further status in 1969 Hollywood, and Sharon is a rising star living life to the fullest.  All 3 will experience the highs and lows of the Hollywood life while trying to advance their careers.

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is less a movie than a series of connected episodes featuring its characters.  While I typically dislike these kinds of films, enough of the scenes hit their mark thanks to Tarantino’s writing and direction of his actors that I enjoyed myself.  DiCaprio, Robbie, and especially Pitt are all having a blast here, with the latter giving one of his most entertaining performances in years.  The film also subverts expectations effortlessly and gives one of 2019’s nuttiest (and bloodiest) climaxes.  Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood won’t rank among Tarantino’s greats, but it’s still fun viewing.  See it if you like his stuff.

Rated R for Language Throughout, Some Strong Graphic Violence, Drug Use, and Sexual References

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