Blair Russell’s review published on Letterboxd:
Honestly, this only deserves about a one star rating just for having Lena Dunham in a small role.
This is going to be one of those long reviews, I'll state that right away; I know those aren't for all tastes. Before even talking about Hollywood, its director is someone who I need to discuss. As mentioned in some prior reviews, I haven't loved everything that QT has done; I wish that every picture was very good like Jackie Brown or Reservoir Dogs-I am realistic and realize it's impossible to rise to the heights of Pulp Fiction and the impact it had on cinema in general... also mentioned in the past is how with the majority of his pictures, I am pretty sure I'd rate them different each time I give them a spin, and that is not normally how I feel.
In addition, there is the recent controversy surrounding Tarantino and claims by Uma Thurman that he did not behave appropriately on the set of Kill Bill or take the appropriate steps to protect her from harm whilst shooting-amazing then that her daughter Maya Hawke is in this I know this was enough for some to cancel QT forever-I won't go that far although I hope that this current era creates a climate where directors-no matter how great-do not behave so abhorrently or abuse women to get a certain performance, as even some of the all-time-greats have done in the past. Anyhow, I hope no one is offended I went and saw this, although I won't fault anyone who is.
Another point of contention is that Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate has hardly anything to do and that is unfortunately true. People got upset that a talented actress was used this way and QT's indignant reaction to anyone questioning his “genius”... it makes him look like a dinosaur in this day and age, to be blunt. I mean, right or wrong things are different now. I did not mind following washed-up cowboy actor Rick Dalton or his stunt double buddy Cliff Booth... until an important question popped up... what was the point?
Honestly, what was the point of all of this? I was wondering that for a good amount of the movie, and after that ending, it echoed even louder. It seemed the main purpose was to bring 1969 Southern California to life and admittedly it does look like a cool world. Of course, there's also all the TV shows QT remembered as a young kid and various obscure genre movies of the time. In addition, it does have a nice soundtrack... and a surprising amount of Paul Revere & The Raiders; who knew Tarantino was such a fan? Yet I found myself having more of a desire to see The Fourteen Fists of McCluskey or the Spaghetti Westerns that Rick Dalton starred in, or even the Bond riff that he starred in w/ Gordon Mitchell rather than Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Like I said, Sharon Tate ends up being a minor character (her character could completely be cut out and not a thing would be different), and much to my surprise, so is The Manson Family. This is why I was questioning the existence of this motion picture. Even then, this was different from QT's other movies and while it did not work for me overall, at least I can say this was more mature... random moments that seemed like a middle finger to the critics and the constant showing of bare feet aside. At least there were no N-bombs... although I don't remember seeing any black people either. I wondered why Bruce Lee was made to look like a fool but this was not like any of his previous work; then, the ending happened. I had major problems with that cartoony nonsense; all I'll say is, those women who decided to cancel QT after Uma's charges, I really hope they never see the movie as a whole, the denouement especially.
Honestly, there are two reasons why I can even give this an average rating: there are some high-quality scenes here, & Leo and Brad Pitt as the leads. Their talents (not to mention the #looks they served throughout) helped me get through this overlong exercise. I've never believed that Tarantino is going to make only ten feature films, but even then if he got away from the Western genre that would be nice... how about more variety? Oh, and the reason why I bagged on Dunham in the beginning: look up “Lena Dunham sister” on Google and see how she outed her sister without her permission, is casually racist, had a bizarre “body exploration” moment with her sister when they were kids that should have never been made public, and is otherwise far worse than QT to me and is a generally awful, repugnant talentless rich girl who I wish would go away.