nic’s review published on Letterboxd:
so I finally watched this film again.
The first time i watched this I had a lot of thoughts and I chose to not write a review until seeing it a second time. I went into this film expecting to not like it because I personally am not a fan of Tarantino. But at first I was pretty pleasantly surprised. With the big names, like Margot Robbie, Leo, and Brad Pitt, bright 60s music, cars, and fashion , and cameos like Mama Cass and Michelle Phillips, it was fun, it was camp, and I was enjoying myself...for about the first 30 minutes.
After the first act concluded it became clear to me how disorganized this film was, and not disorganized in an endearing way like Pulp Fiction. Everything in this film felt stunted to me by the script. With underdeveloped dialogue and characters not even the best performances could save this film. Strong actors, production, costuming, and soundtrack are all critical parts of a great film. However, to me, it is impossible for a film to achieve greatness without a great script at its foundation.
And that’s where I take issue with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. When you take away all the glamour, you’re left with a script, specifically with the Tate storyline (which is that what this movie is about? what is this movie about ??), that comes across as incredibly vapid. Any sort of deep sentiment offered by this film feels faux and heavy handed to me.
That’s when the final act begins. With the amalgamation of of its storylines, comes the apex of its disorganization. Storylines are dropped, characters not offered depth are forgotten about (the Manson girls, trudi, r*m*n, marvin, etc.), any depth to characters at the forefront is lost (the scene with cliff and the dog when tex first breaks in was hard to watch, tate being made out to be but a ditzy doll (when isn’t she whats at the heart of this film??)), and most of all, the false suspense is completely lost with a disappointing ending. The audience has been fooled, and not because we weren’t looking closely enough, such as with The Prestige.
Overall, this whole film, to me, feels like Quentin Tarantino’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl.