Nikolas Hackett’s review published on Letterboxd:
The best bromance in film since Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name.
In all seriousness though, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was nothing short of tremendous. I recently had a chance to visit Los Angeles this past June, and during my trip this feeling sort of developed in me. I can’t quite describe it, but it felt as if I could conquer anything that I set my mind to, if that makes sense. There truly is some magic in that city, and I’m hoping to eventually live there. So the fact that I was able to experience that feeling once again upon watching Quentin Tarantino’s new masterpiece was quite the treat. I’ve seen OUATIH twice now, and even after repeat viewings, it can’t seem to escape from my head anytime soon. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is a slow burn, sure, but I never found it boring by any means. I found myself wrapped up in each conversation that the characters had, and adored going along for the ride with them throughout the almost three hour runtime.
The film doesn’t necessarily have a main plot, it’s comprised of mini subplots and scenarios in which we see the characters react. It’s because of this that makes the movie feel completely fresh and different from anything Quentin has made beforehand. But there’s so much more to the movie than just that. It’s obviously a love letter to the Hollywood area during the 60s, full of beautiful women (and feet, too, according to Tarantino), incredible music, and the golden age of cinema, of course. There’s a little bit of everything from the era here, ranging from hippie culture to the Manson family murders.
With everything that this fictional version of 1969 brought to the table, its characters who live in this world are by far my favorite aspect of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The cast here is stellar, with Brad Pitt giving one of the greatest performances of his career as Cliff Booth, Rick Dalton’s (DiCaprio) stuntman. His backstory was by far the most interesting, and he had the majority of comedic moments. Also, the dude rocked Champion shirts way before they were cool, so that automatically makes him epic. Leo DiCaprio is terrific as usual, and Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Sharon Tate was incredible. Everything involving her was tastefully done, and the performance was a joy to watch. Even the supporting cast members blew me away, most notably, Margaret Qualley, Kurt Russell, Julia Butters, and the late Luke Perry to name a few.
Tarantino is known for having phenomenal soundtracks in his films, and this is no different here. In fact, Once in Hollywood’s might actually have my personal favorite, full of 60s classic rock and soul. The music just added to the authenticity and vibe of the whole movie, and definitely helped the overall flow and transitions from scene to scene. With that being said, everything builds up to an incredible climax. Seriously, this thing rocked my world. It’s INSANE, even better than Endgame’s to tell you guys the truth.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the love letter to Los Angeles which transported me back into the greatest city of all time once again. While acting as a time capsule, and as a means of moving on as time goes on, Tarantino crafts something so zany and original, yet deeply personal and heartfelt. It is unlike anything he has made before, both in terms of writing and direction. It’s the perfect hangout movie, and one that I will constantly rewatch for the rest of my life, just as the times change around us.