KJ Schultz’s review published on Letterboxd:
Absolutely fucking brilliant. Tarantino does such an amazing job at transforming the audience into the 60s. You immediately fall in love with these characters and locations we visit. The neons, the cars, the costumes. All fucking perfect.
Leo and Brad Pitt are both electric throughout, bringing nonstop humor to the story as Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth. You become so easily enamored with these two when they’re onscreen. Whether it be them cruising the streets of LA, Dalton losing his shit over forgetting his lines, or Booth smoking cigs and drinking beers, it all creates this easy going experience where I was grinning for 3 hours straight. Throw Margot Robbie in the mix as this innocent and beautiful Sharon Tate, and it’s impossible to not smile from start to finish. The joy she has in the theater watching herself was so intoxicating. I was so happy for how happy she was, it felt magical.
Tarantino also Tarantino’s the shit outta this, where creating tension with the simplest of things can drive you mad. Simple as Booth walking up to Spahn Ranch to meet an old friend or awaiting the finale, just clocking the runtime in your head thinking, “how is everyone still alive?” He does such a marvelous job of seamlessly altering reality and subverting expectations to where your mind goes. Knowing Tate’s fate, you’re constantly thinking, “ahhh fuck, where’s this gonna go?” It’s a wild ride.
There’s also so many stand out moments where the characters completely engross you in what’s happening. Like when Dalton is sitting at table in the saloon with James Stacy, the camera slowly pans 180 to capture both their faces, which totally sucks you into what is happening, only for Tarantino to snap you out of it when Dalton botches his lines. You’re watching actors act, playing actors on a fake set, and it’s incredible. Comical almost because he snaps you out of it, basically like a “gotcha again” moment. Everyone just plays their part so effortlessly.
I could talk about it for hours. Just writing about it makes me want to trot my ass back to the theater and see it again. EASILY one of the years best.