“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” is an Instant Tarantino Classic

He’s done it again. For his 9th film, writer-director, Quentin Tarantino packs an imaginative punch of star-power, over-the-top drama, and unmatched style.

It’s 1969 and Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is slowing falling off his high-horse as leading man in Hollywood’s most famous western films. His stuntman and oldest pal, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), is along for the ride, whether it’s going up or down. As Daltons career begins to dwindle, his neighbor, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), is on her way to stardom. Seamlessly weaving through fiction and non, Once Upon A Time is the gritty, Tinseltown fairytale we didn’t even know we needed.

The amount of detail that went into this film is what makes this movie magic. From the colorful set to the thoughtful costuming, Tarantino left no stone unturned. As soon as the film starts, you are immersed into that time period and at the mercy of Tarantino as he takes you on a winding, sometimes ridiculous, ride throughout the Hollywood hills.

With a near 3-hour time stamp, I was worried about the pacing of this film. After the film was over, I was reminded to trust the process, as I could have continued watching for another 3 hours if I was allowed to. The journey through this story is gradual but purposeful, sprinkled with one-liners, retro-pop culture references, and – of course – plenty of bold-faced action.

There are many “ah-ha!” moments as every supporting role is filled by a well-known actor. Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Lena Dunham, and Emilie Hirsch, just to name a few. Following in her parents footsteps, keep an eye out for Maya Hawke–Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke’s daughter–as one of Charles Manson’s followers. A performance you CAN’T miss is Tex, played by Austin Butler, who was recently cast as Elvis in the upcoming bio-pic.

Margot Robbie is stunning and warm as the late Sharon Tate. Leo and Brad’s chemistry is unmatched, landing them a spot as one of my favorite acting duos of all time. The story is full of surprises, twists and delicious Easter eggs. It’s a “You have to see it for yourself,” type of movie.

Everyone is talking about Once Upon a Time right now and will be again, come award show season. See the magic on the silver screen. Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is now playing in theaters everywhere.

Score: 4.5/ ★★★★★

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