“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” is Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to Hollywood and classic film making in the Golden Age of film. He recreates Hollywood of the 1960s including the classic cars, the neon signs, and movie palaces of decades past.
The story is pure fiction. He retells the story of the Manson Family, led by Tex Watson and Squeaky Fromme and their home invasion and attack, not on Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie), Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch) and company, but on Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a 50s Westerns star, and instead they find his stunt double and chauffeur, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). I don’t want to spoil things, but the reimagining of what really occurred kind of ruins things. To some extent, why recreate anything at all if you are going to stay so far from the real story?
Tarantino got another nomination for Original Screenplay, but honestly I hated it. The film was nominated in ten categories including Best Picture, Best Director (Taratino), Best Actor (DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Pitt), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.
That many nominations you have to win one or two, right? Brad Pitt won his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. This was one of those films that was carried by the supporting actor. The film is about Rick Dalton, DiCaprio’s character, but his stunt double led the film. I think the Oscar was well-deserved. Pitt is now no longer just eye candy.
The other win for the film was Best Production Design. I think this too was very deserving. The crew and artists involved took much effort to recreate and piece together the classic Hollywood of yesteryear. There is one transition sequence of old neon signs lighting up of Hollywood’s iconic spots from the 60s turning on in an homage to the good ol’ days. The sets and the look all felt right.
If you enjoyed the previous eight Taratentino films, you will probably like this one. If they repulse you, skip it. I couldn’t get past this one’s ridiculous story.