Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
2019 | Drama | 162 minutes | English
The time is early 1969. Rick Dalton, a star of Hollywood Westerns, fears his career is waning. His agent, Marvin Schwarzs urges Rick to go to Italy where he can find work making Spaghetti Westerns. Rick refuses, feeling this is a letdown. Rick’s friend, Cliff Booth is a stunt double who lives in a trailer with a pit bull. The unemployed Cliff drives Rick around, keeps him company, and runs errands. Actress Sharon Tate and her husband Roman Polanski move next door to Rick. While driving Rick’s car, Cliff picks up a hitchhiker named “Pussycat.” He drops her off at the Spahn Ranch and notices hippies living there and the Manson family. Back at the house, Rick informs Cliff he can no longer employ him. They commiserate over drinks and acid-laced cigarettes. When Cliff walks his dog he notices the hippies and the Manson family standing outside Sharon Tate’s house preparing to murder her. The horrific killing jars Hollywood. It’s also the end of a Hollywood era.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 85
- Metacritic Score: 83
Cannes Film Festival: Nominated, Palme d’Or
Locarno International Film Festival: Nominated, Variety Piazza Grande Award (Quentin Tarantino)
Golden Globes Awards: Nominated, Best Picture; Best Lead Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio); Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Brad Pitt); Best Director (Quentin Tarantino); Best Screenplay (Quentin Tarantino)
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It’s one of those rare movies that will provoke conversation and debate long enough to cement itself in the public consciousness more than the fleeting multiplex hit of the week. Love it or hate it, people will be talking about it. And that’s something the older Tarantino has in common with the younger one. He hasn’t lost any of his power to fire people up. If only there were more like him.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD is a disarming and characteristically subversive love letter to its inspiration, in which Tarantino rebuilds the Dream Factory as it existed during the time of his childhood, while rewriting the traumatic episode often identified as the end of theater.
When news broke out that Quentin Tarantino would be taking on the Manson murders in his latest film, I admittedly winced. Tarantino’s love for over-the-top gore, for painting the screen red, seemed a bad fit with the ghastly 1969 murders of several people, including the actress Sharon Tate, then married to Roman Polanski. What was entirely unexpected was that ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD would be such a moving film, at once a love letter—and a dream—of the Hollywood that was.
A bittersweet, complex, conversation-starting look back at the film business at the close of a tumultuous decade, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD also works as a strong argument for why it’s too soon for Tarantino to pack it in. It’s not a film Tarantino would, or could, have made 20 years ago, and that’s part of what makes it so remarkable.
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