Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is a film about the restorative power of fiction. The cinema, that world of illusions, as a weapon to protect yourself from real life. We are in 1969 and we have three protagonists. Two fiction: Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a Western actor who feels at the beginning of his sunset, and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) his action double, assistant and best friend. And a real character, actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), who was then-wife of director Roman Polanski, and who was brutally murdered in her own home by followers of the Charles Manson sect on August 9, 1969.
A date that marked the end of a decade of counterculture, psychedelia, and liberties, and that shocked forever all of Hollywood. Death had knocked on the door of this fairy tale. There is no dream world without nightmares too. Watch now the movie to see how this world is represented.
Quentin Tarantino tells his story in three acts. The first place us at the time, Los Angeles in the late sixties, and how its three protagonists live, what music they listen to, what they consume, what they see on television. It is a slow act of observation of the characters and the direction they will take. In the second act, we see a day in each one's life. Rick Dalton in a shoot trying to take a role forward, faced with his demons and frustrations to prove that he can still be a good actor, Cliff Booth visiting the homes of the hippie girls of the Manson sect (a bright moment, a prelude to what which could be a horror movie filmed by Tarantino), and Sharon Tate (sublime Margot Robbie) in a movie theater, attentive to people's reactions, living the dream of being a star. They are long interleaved sequences that could function as three films by themselves. Each in a different register. And the last act is about that August 9, 1969.
Tarantino's narrative focuses on memory. A common situation told in the film can chain, in a natural transit, up to two or more flashbacks of a character. But it also focuses on the role of the double, "he who does the dirty work," as defined by Rick Dalton. Because somehow a character is also a double, who in fiction takes the risks that the author can no longer in real life.
This is the recreation of cinema within the cinema, of a fantasy space where stars and their doubles, protagonists and secondary, artists and workers lived together. It is a vindication of the heroes of the series of cowboys or the low-budget movies that Tarantino saw when he was a boy, heroes that were forever recorded in his memory and in his way of making movies. But also a vindication of the anonymous characters for the general public, those who have kept the fire burning in the film industry, who have not let the fantasy end, those who save a bad day. Watch it online and agree with us.
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is a festival of cinephile references. An avalanche of places, movies, names of directors and actors, characters, to which songs and musicians are added. A museum of memorabilia before which a not-so-aware spectator could be out of place. It is both a summary of Tarantino's cinema. There are his fetishes (the foregrounds of female feet) and there are scenes of all genres or themes discussed in his previous films.
In his ninth film, Tarantino does not yield to the sensibilities of our time and responds with blood and fire to those who criticize the violence of his cinema. He stands like an old cowboy ready to fight.