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Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom, USA

2019

Rated R • 2h 42m

Director Quentin Tarantino

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch

Genre Comedy, Drama, Thriller

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Faded TV actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood's golden age. While Booth ekes out an existence, Dalton still lives a life of relative luxury in Hollywood, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous.

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WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?

Ting Shing Koh Profile picture for Ting Shing Koh

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio's chemistry really brings this film to life. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood truly is a classic Tarantino where you won't know what to expect until the next scene appears on your screen. Humour, drama, action, and emotion--this one has it all!

Eddie Godino Profile picture for Eddie Godino

Tarantino's classic brand of humor is on full display in his latest flick, which calls back his earlier works in the sense that it's not really about anything – and I mean that in the best way possible. It's not that the movie lacks substance; it's that there is no one, clearly defined narrative goal. The film is ultimately a character study of an actor and his stunt double during a particular time in Hollywood's history, and that's all it needs to be. Pitt and DiCaprio shine as the two leads, and the fantastic supporting cast takes the film even higher. The biggest qualm I have with the movie is that the revisionist history angle is entirely unnecessary. Nothing against Margot Robbie's performance, but her character simply added nothing to the story aside from providing a face for Sharon Tate, who wasn't even relevant until the very end. Cutting those sequences out would have also made the movie's runtime much more bearable. That being said, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is still a solid addition to Tarantino's filmography.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

75

The Playlist by

Having never been entirely won over by the clever-clever period genre revisionism that has been Tarantino’s mainstay since Bill was killed, I was delighted — after all the lurid what-if speculation over the film’s relationship to the Charles Manson story — to find that his latest is, in such large part, a kind of gorgeously lacquered megabudget hangout movie.
100

Time Out by Dave Calhoun

It sits at the mature end of Tarantino’s work, bringing his tongue-in-cheek storytelling together with exquisite craft and killer lead performances from Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. And yet, it’s still very much a Tarantino film, trading in genuine emotion one minute, unapolegetically silly the next.
70

The Hollywood Reporter by David Rooney

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is uneven, unwieldy in its structure and not without its flat patches. But it's also a disarming and characteristically subversive love letter to its inspiration.
75

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Tarantino’s desire to salute the creative thrill of storytelling is an inviting, welcome presence in American cinema, and his ninth feature suggests he really ought to work more often. But all the vivid callbacks to antiquated TV westerns and the forgotten characters in their orbit fall short of coalescing into much more than that.
90

Screen Daily by Fionnuala Halligan

Once Upon A Time….in Hollywood is beautifully made. Beyond all the ‘Tarantino-esque’ touches of the action, the banter, the violence, the constant movie references, there’s a real craft at play here.
100

CineVue by John Bleasdale

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is bold, beautiful and brutal. It’s Tarantino’s best film since Kill Bill, perhaps even since Pulp Fiction.
80

Variety by Owen Gleiberman

DiCaprio and Pitt fill out their roles with such rawhide movie-star conviction that we’re happy to settle back and watch Tarantino unfurl this tale in any direction he wants.
100

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

Quite simply, I just defy anyone with red blood in their veins not to respond to the crazy bravura of Tarantino’s film-making, not to be bounced around the auditorium at the moment-by-moment enjoyment that this movie delivers.
75

Vanity Fair by Richard Lawson

This curious fairy tale may not be the truth, and it may prattle on too long. But when its stars align, and they let loose with their unmistakable shine, Hollywood movies do seem truly special again. And, sure, maybe TV does too.
100

The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

There’s a gleeful toxicity here that will launch a thousand think-pieces – Pitt’s character is capital-P problematic, absolutely by design – but the transgressive thrill is undeniable, and the artistry mesmerisingly assured.

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