“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” Review

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Rated: R

Runtime: 2:45

Review by: Livi Edmonson


Tarantino delivers his ninth and finest film


The year is 1969, and Hollywood is buzzing with actors, actresses, producers, stunt doubles, hippies, and you guessed it: serial killers — Charles Manson, to be exact. Loosely based on real people and true events, Quentin Tarantino’s latest film follows television “cowboy,” Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), and his best bud/stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as the two stars try to stay as relevant as possible in the ever-changing world of Hollywood. The film serves as a nod to Hollywood’s remarkable golden age. However, as we all know from the infamous murder of Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie) by members of the Manson clan, all that glitters is not always gold.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie may be the leading actors of director Quentin Tarantino’s ninth (and possibly final) film, but little do audiences know is that this film is quite the star-studded extravaganza. Honestly though, did we expect anything less from Tarantino? Supporting actors and actresses in the film range from Al Pacino to Dakota Fanning, Kurt Russell to the late Luke Perry, and the list goes on and on. If this star-studded cast does not already have you sold on the film, you should know that this film is quite possibly Tarantino’s greatest one yet. It does contain the typical gore and violence that you can expect from a Tarantino flick, but only in the last 10 minutes. In my opinion, this was very tasteful of Tarantino considering that not everyone has a stomach for on-screen violence — and most do have a stomach for Brad Pitt shirtless. So, thank you, Tarantino, for making a film that everyone can enjoy.

Although “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is loosely based on both fictional and non-fictional events and people, the most unique aspect of the film has to be its ability to make its audience believe they are in 1969. Margot Robbie’s performance as Sharon Tate is almost spot-on, just as scene-stealer, Mike Moh’s Bruce Lee impression is uncanny. There are small appearances by 

other non-fictional characters such as Steve McQueen (Damien Lewis), and of course, Charles Manson (Damon Herriman) and some of his memorable cult followers such as Pussycat (Margaret Qualley), Squeaky (Dakota Fanning), Gypsy (Lena Dunham), and suspected murderer, Tex (Austin Butler). All of these performances, whether they are leading ones like that of Pitt and DiCaprio, or more minor roles such as that of Fanning and Qualley, this film has early Oscar-bait written all over it. 

From Sharon Tate’s white patent leather boots to the creepy following shots of the notorious Manson cult, everything and everyone in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” adds to Quentin Tarantino’s retro masterpiece.  The flick can best be labeled as a comedic period piece, so if anything, come for Leonardo DiCaprio’s and Brad Pitt’s classic, playful friendship that sits at the film’s core. I promise you, this is the most audiences will laugh in a Quentin Tarantino film and the humor is enjoyable for everyone. Well, everyone that is included in the R-rated audience category, that is. I give the film a 10 out of 10 for its cinematic perfection and an 8.5 out of 10 for its superb entertainment quality. Go see the film that everyone will still be discussing this 2020 awards season.

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