Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

In Cinemas Now

Quentin Tarantino's latest all-star drama set in 1969 L.A. stars Leonardo DiCaprio alongside Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate and more.

Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) is a struggling former TV star, still struggling to make it in Tinseltown, alongside his former stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt). But as Dalton's neighbour, rising star Sharon Tate (Robbie), will soon tragically learn, something more dangerous than the pursuit of fame is stalking Hollywood - a violent cult led by a charismatic figure promising the apocalypse...

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Directed by

Comedy, Drama, Festival & Independent

161mins

Rating: MA15+ Strong violence and coarse language

UK, USA

The ninth film from Quentin Tarantino is a love letter to 1969 Los Angeles that serves up cheap thrills on top of deep and meaningful ponderings. It's quite a departure from the iconic filmmaker's intense last three movies, ambling along to its own groove, which may be harder to get on board with. But when you do, it's a particularly pleasurable groove that for some fans will make for Tarantino's most beloved work to date.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are both firing on all cylinders as Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, an aging partnership of actor and stuntman, respectively, whose careers are coming to an end. The roles are instant career highlights for both actors, but neither outshines Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's other remarkable achievements. This is an extraordinarily rich film, full of stunning, packed images that will be paused and marvelled at upon home release as fans explore all the myriad ways it pays homage to show business and the summer of '69. But it's also rich with themes and metaphors that enjoyably bubble around in your head days after you've watched it. Is it Rick or Cliff that better represents Tarantino as he approaches retirement in real life? Do both of them represent the medium of film itself? What's with the emphasis of filth on the bare feet?

For a lot of its runtime, this feels like a hang out movie. Its world is so well realised that it's never boring to hang out in, but on first viewing some of it seems pointless. Hints at an inevitable darkness are dropped along the way, before the film shifts gears and brilliantly moves into a more sinister phase around the two hour mark. But as it all ends with a typically shocking, violent and subversive climax, it shifts back to its chilled out self, somehow taking all the chaos in its stride.

There's an innocent sweetness to this film's sentimentality and nostalgia that only fully reveals itself at the very end, making for a wonderfully endearing aftertaste. It might not be as filled with electrifyingly great dialogue as most of Tarantino's films, but I cannot wait to have it age like a fine wine upon countless repeat viewings.

Los Angeles Times

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[A] richly evocative, conceptually jaw-dropping, excessively foot-fetishising, inescapably terrifying and unexpectedly poignant movie.

TimeOut (New York)

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It sits at the mature end of Tarantino's work, bringing his tongue-in-cheek storytelling together with exquisite movie craft and killer lead performances from Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Variety (USA)

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This curious fairy tale may not be the truth, and it may prattle on too long. But when its stars align, and they let loose with their unmistakable shine, Hollywood movies do seem truly special again.

Hollywood Reporter

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Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is uneven, unwieldy in its structure and not without its flat patches. But it's also a disarming and characteristically subversive love letter to its inspiration.

The Guardian

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It's entirely outrageous, disorientating, irresponsible, and also brilliant.

Total Film (UK)

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All the Tarantino hallmarks are here - the jet-black humour, fine-tuned dialogue, jukebox soundtrack and, yes, bare feet.

The Telegraph

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Tarantino luxuriates in bringing this prelapsarian heyday roaring back to life, and the effect is pure movie-world intoxication, laced with in-jokes and nibble-ably sweet period detail.

NZ Herald (Dominic Corry)

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I was utterly swept up into Tarantino's Hollywood. And it was a glorious place to be.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

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For a film-maker who spends so much time lionizing his alpha-male leads and their supposed old-school values, Tarantino sure does take a coward's way out of his own story.

A romanticised history of Hollywood

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

No stranger to rewriting history, Tarantino takes on the Manson murders but it really is just a mere backdrop for what is a trip through the golden age of Hollywood with literal recreations of old film and television.

Starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio; a veritable dream team of Hollywood heartthrobs and neither of whom is a stranger to the Tarantinoverse. We have a snivelling DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, a fictional Hollywood actor famous for a Western television show who has now fallen from a leading man to taking on cameo villain roles. Pitt is Cliff Dalton, a cool, calm and collected stuntman for Dalton and he's never looked hotter. 55 years old for goodness sakes. Margot Robbie portrays real actress, Sharon Tate, but spends most of the film disconnected from our duo and the main plot—an ethereal angel floating throughout Hollywood, observing herself as the world sees her.

My favourite piece of cameo casting would have to be Timothy Olyphant as the stock hero in a Western opposite DiCaprio. No stranger to the TV Western, Olyphant takes up the literal reigns once again, having previously starred in HBO's Deadwood and a more modern Western in FX's Justified.

Tarantino lets this film bloat, with extensive scenes of characters driving from A to B. It's merely an excuse to explore 1969 LA and a bit of easy breezy fun but I reckon you could still chop this film up and still have room to breathe. For a film based around a cult of murderers it's a pretty relaxed affair. Tarantino is known for his use of violence and you might be forgiven for thinking he's lost his meanstreak here. But it does eventually escalate and boy does it escalate.

That all being said, the misogyny in this film is pretty hard to miss. And it's not just the treatment of Sharon Tate. Women are objects without agency; seen through a male lens as the camera traverses their bodies. Women are made out to be 'hysterical' and brutally murdered for laughs. Yes 1969 was a different time but this movie came out in 2019 and still fantasizes about a time of hyper masculinity where men where men and women were seen and not heard.

As lightly enjoyable as it was, for me anyway, this film serves as a jumping off point to learn about the real history of Hollywood and not a history romanticised or rewritten.


What was the point?

What I said to myself about half way through watching Tarantino's latest was "where is this going?" that feeling continued all till the ending and I honestly feel I got as much out of the trailer as I did the movie itself. Its well made and acted, so on paper good, but its completely bloated and has no actual narrative. Plus a few controversial elements make this one more off a miss then a hit.

Tina-Chai

Tina C

user


Sort of enjoyable

Yes two great actors, B Pitt and L di Caprio, they have such amazing timing. A long movie and a number of laughs. The violence was over the top.


Patient but rewarding

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is perhaps not Tarantino's best work but it is certainly a fantastic film, meeting the high standard he has set for himself over the years. Leonardo di Caprio and Brad Pitt both give outstanding performances in their leading roles and Tarantino develops deep, multilayered characters through his somewhat unconventional method of storytelling (which seems to have become something of a signature, each film being told in it's own offbeat fashion. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is very long and some might even say too much so, and too pandering but personally I was engaged throughout. I was intriuged as to where it was all going, particularly with Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate. Tarantino's twists on history continue to impress here and I found the final act to be very, very rewarding. The camerawork and lighting is all absolutely spot on and the introduction of some scenes from Rick Dalton's films within the film is a clever and engaging way to flesh out his character, the aged looking footage is used to great effect. Highly recommended, unless you have a strong dislike for Tarantino's previous films. I was lucky enough to see this film at the Flicks preview screening and the night did not disappoint.

Jez

Jez

user


Complete garbage and out of touch

2.5 hours of my life I wont get back. Seriously, what rubbish. Don't be blindly led just because its Tarantino. Worst movie Ive seen in years, and Flicks should be ashamed of giving it 4/5 rating.


Take me back to 1969.

Ever since I heard about this film an it's plot I was intrigued on whether Quentin Tarantino would be able to create another cult classic. I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview screening of the film by Flicks and one thing I could definitely say after walking out of the theatre is this film does not disappoint. The cast is great with DiCaprio and Pitt making a memorable and dynamic duo that makes you wonder why this is only their first performance together. This film really is Tarantino's love letter to Hollywood in the 1960s with so many references to the time. Although the film takes place across only 2 days and 1 crazy night it's a must-see for any avid or casual moviegoer. What you can expect from Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a film filled with lots of laughs, a story of two best friends and of course, classic Tarantino gore.


A Love letter to film and television in the 60s and all Hollywood aspects alike

As an 18 year old my experience of Hollywood in the 60s is as legitimate as Tarantino's next RomCom yet still this film was a blast. Despite the lack of nostalgia that this film no doubt delivers to people of the time I still vicariously felt tarantino's love and admiration for this unique and sometimes significant period of history and film. Whilst some tarantino die hards may find the lack of 'Tarantino-ness' in this film a let down despite the rewarding climax Once upon a time... in Hollywood solidifies Tarantinos ability to defy, revitalise and reinvent the less loved genres like no other. Once Upon a TIme... in Hollywood manages to push modern cinema forward whilst looking back and perfectly encapsulates with childish admiration the true fairy tale that was Hollywood in the 60s.


A bit wandering, but fun.

Not quite a Manson murder story and not quite an exploration of a fading Hollywood star, it's a bit of a mish-mash that doesn't quite know what it wants to be, so settles for being a good time. Tarantino continues to under-serve his female characters (except their feet, which are over-served) but at least recognises that watching Brad Pitt driving around sunny LA is somehow everyone's happy place.


This film enflamed me...

For a while, I have been considering becoming a hippy. Something about the cheap laced joints and warm sunny days of LA has always inspired this fantasy. That was until Once Upon a Time in Hollywood... Tarantino always manages to make the taboo acceptable, brutally sweeping aside the modern political correctness that has swept Hollywood. Despite it's the length, staggering beyond 2 hours and a half, at least Tarantino makes the most of this sun-drenched film. Brad Pitt is my new style icon, Margot Robbie maintains her doll like perfection and Leonardo Dicaprio is awkwardly compelling as an actor with self esteem issues. Thank you Zoe Bell for the Kiwi class. I think you were the star. Sorry about the car... Overall a great film.


Extremely Tarantino

Reminds me of Jackie Brown in the way that it doesn't feel crowd-pleasing but does feel like the cinematic conveyance of Tarantino's hyper-enthusiasm. I don't think I'd want it any other way,