Andrew ❦’s review published on Letterboxd:
The feel-good movie of the summer just so happens to be about washed up actors mourning their own careers, navigating Hollywood's constant changes in the process; all while the "Manson Family" cult are planning their first murder — directed by none other than Quentin Tarantino. And it's Fucking Amazing.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is up there with Tarantino's most indulgent, wacky, at times shocking work, yet is his most mature, introspective/retrospective, tender, and wonderfully mundane (or so it seems...) film to date. The film I was hoping he'd finally make, but am still surprised he did; especially in this way. His signature flourishes are painted within this massively intimate portrait of pure love and admiration for cinema, and the lives of those on both sides of the cameras and screens.
A free-flowing hangout joyride I never wanted to end. An expansive snapshot of an era lost to tragedy. A melancholic, but buoyant “what if?” that yearns for an ever evolving (or devolving?) industry to stay still for just a moment. To take in its own beauty before its too late. Characters are pummeled with constant advertisements, and images of people taking their places, pushing them to consume and to feed, never resting or thinking a second thought. The perfect recipes for self-deprecation, self-criminalization, and self-loathing. What, and why, are these legacies being left? Are these legacies? It's up to us.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood can be considered problematic in nature; but it's Hollywood, baby — in raw form, and through one lens. And in reality, there is a lot of empathy here, which I didn't expect, especially when it could've so easily been devastating, exploitative horror. But Tarantino doesn't go the easy route, as he never has. He still continues to surprise me, even this deep into his career. I need to watch Death Proof, but if his (supposedly) final film is even just ok, he'll retire having the most consistently outstanding filmography out of any and all filmmakers I know and love. And I couldn't care less if it's basic to say; he was a huge part in what got me into loving cinema, and he continues to make that love grow.
I loved everything about this, whether I wanted more or not. Movie magic. One big fairytale; one that doesn't have to stray too far from reality to inspire awe and hope.