Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★½

I was worried about seeing this, and I don’t know how I got the misconception. I had seen a few low star reviews from friends on here, and I had the aching feeling that Terantino was going to focus on the misogynistic aspect of 50’s Hollywood.

I was both relieved and surprised. While I don’t worship at the altar of Tarantino, I’ve loved many of his films and I was particularly surprised and pleased how he eschewed most of his edgy style to create this lovely meandering tale of fading stars.

While The Artist and others documented the transition from silent to talkies, here, Terantino explores what I’ve thought about from time to time about the TV actors I grew up with. Where are they now? What was it like to fade from the spotlight, ultimately ending up in special senior movie star encampments to measure out their final days away from prying eyes and gossip columnists. I also loved Pitt’s Tonto. His devoted stunt double and real life friend, whose happy to live his trailer park life next to his bosses swimming pool and movie stars digs.

While I was initially afraid that Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate would just be a toss-away character, I was touched by her feelings of just wanting to be accepted, visiting a theatre to see what the audience thought of her, but at the same time letting the theatre staff know, ‘I’m in this film’, not to just get a free pass, but to get some validation and adoration.

Probably my favourite moment in the film was DiCaprio's guest shot on a new TV western where he was no longer a star, but rather a ‘guest star’. His final scene with the little girl was just so touching, and ached what all these faded stars yearned for. Not just a moment in the sun and a fat paycheque, but rather to be validated.

I think everyone craves validation. We common folk get it from our loved ones, and maybe our workmates, but that validation is from a very small group. Seeking validation from the masses is a whole different thing, and that’s what I think Terantino captured perfectly.

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