Frank Ritz’s review published on Letterboxd:
The most regressive movie I've seen at the time of it's release. Sure, there are worse offenders in history, and I'm sure there will be more, but this just didn't set well with me. The third act really crumpled any positive feelings I had for the film, but even before that I had major issues, and wasn't really with the film at all.
These reviews, and their comment sections, are able to articulate my feelings a whole lot better than I'll ever be able to (it's been well over a week since I've seen this, and I feel like my mind becomes a clouded haze of resentment and confusion anytime I try to actively think about this).
And also my own review for a completely unrelated horror film that I think lightly touches on the notions of what bothered me (comment section also important): Eyes of My Mother
I will add this though:
I love Inglorious Basterds and think Django Unchained is fine, but at least the revisionist attitude in those flicks had purpose. They were never denying the acts at hand, and were trying to (to varying levels of success) provide a catharsis for those who suffered, to flip the script, whilst still acknowledging the atrocity. This film presents a what-if fantasy land that completely ignores any real world implication, because Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger are all actually dead; individuals succumbed to an extremely specific tragedy. Who does this provide catharsis for? For us all to imagine a world where this didn't happen? What could've come next? If only there were some white privileged ass holes to save the day (to stop other white privileged assholes, nonetheless)? The Manson murders are often cited as changing the cultural landscape; "the end of free love" "the death of hippies"... but so what? Because the world was still rampantly horrible, and maybe it just made people be fucking aware for a second?
I am pretty against nostalgia, and think it's a dangerous thing to dip down into, and all this film feels like is a "awh shucks, don't you miss the good ol' days?". Yeah, where minorities and women weren't looked at as people, where Hollywood producers used their powers to inject drugs, and force sex upon, new ingenues on the regular, people could dive deep into their hedonism, ignoring of the atrocities happening consistently across the globe, and white men could do anything (including killing their wives!!!)? Is this something to celebrate? Something to bask in? Even simply as a hangout movie it's pretty fucking abhorrent and nonsensical to make in 2019. Beyond the horrid cultural implications, it also just wasn't that good. It felt like a bad Family Guy episode, parodying something that forgot what it was parodying. Frankly, it was also just kind of fucking boring and uninteresting - Hollywood doesn't need more (excuse the french) dick sucking, because it's always been a monstrous machine intent on ruining lives for anyone who doesn't want to play along.
This feels like Tarantino trying to make a case for why it's okay for him to still have a career after his total mishandling of many situations involving Weinstein, Thurman, and Polanski (is this just an elaborate ruse to try and create empathy from an audience to try and understand why Polanski just HAD to drug, and have sex with a 13 year old, to then allow him to be forgiven for his comments, and maybe make it cool to like Polanski again; If so, at least this makes it have purpose). If this was really to try and acknowledge what a tragedy it was to lose Tate and company, why is she literally not a character? Why is Bruce Lee portrayed as nothing as he was (from other's reports; obviously this is something no one can know who wasn't there). Why is Emile Hirsch in this?
Look, I stand by the Quentin films I love, and to my knowledge, he as an individual hasn't done any atrocious acts (thinking/saying something is different than actions; though spewing hatred and horrid ideas into the world is such an immediately slippery slope (as well as mishandling bad situations)). It just feels like this movie is headed backwards, and if it was really searching for catharsis, then why is the final showdown played for fucking laughs. Everything was goofily portrayed, except when it was horrifying to watch. I don't get queasy, I don't feel sick, but I wanted to run. It disturbs me knowing this is so lauded and beloved. I don't think it necessarily negatively reflects upon people who love this, but it does make me worry at the lack of thought an audience puts into what they're receiving. There is an intelligent way to make this movie, but the 12 year old mind of Quentin is not the person to do it.
Maybe it hit too close to home for a number of reasons, but this just really isn't good.
Edit: oh! And if ya wanted to just make a hangout movie in nostalgia porn, why is Sharon Tate even a part of this?? Because it really feels irrelevant to most of the ideas prior; unless it is simply “the good ol’ days” remeberance, which, yuck. Such a mess. This movie is such a mess.