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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Review: A Movie For Leonardo DiCaprio

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood begins like a fairy tale but ends like a horror film. I don’t really have much to say about the film. It is without a doubt a film for the ages. We’re going to be talking about Once Upon a time in Hollywood for years to come. And rightfully so. The movie breaks and makes so many rules, that it’s hard not to praise its genius. However, let’s remember nothing is perfect.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is an Ode to Hollywood

If you’ve seen the trailer, you already know what the movie is about. I believe that if the trailer already tells you what the story is about, the movie needs to get to that point faster. However, that is not the case with Tarantino. 

For those of you who don’t know about the Charles Manson murders, you need to google it. You’ll have to do some prior research because Tarantino is not going to waste time telling you the background for the climax of the movie. From the looks of the trailer, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a movie based on the murder of actress Sharon Tate who along with her group of friends was murdered by Charles Manson. We know how the movie ends. So, what Tarantino does is, he teases you. This whole plotline is pushed back like an afterthought. Tarantino knows you’re waiting for the murders but instead he gives you two self-important, slightly deluded and out of touch white men navigating the life of Hollywood in the ’60s.

The movie that you thought was going to be about murders turns into a movie about bromance and is basically an ode to Hollywood. But I’m not saying it’s something bad. There’s some genius to it. All the while you’re watching these extra subplots like how Bruce Lee is ill-tempered and how an actor goes through a breakdown, you also know that there’s this looming doom in the air. The harsh reality of murders is lingering in the air and in just a matter of minutes, the glamour and glitz of Hollywood are going to turn to ashes and you’re going to see the harsh, violent truth of humanity.

Leonardo DiCaprio is the Star of the Film

Because the movie is based on a real incident, you’d expect the character of Sharon Tate getting the limelight. However, it’s her neighbor who gets to be the center of the film who is played by Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton, a fading actor who is clinging to his fame. Beside him is his loyal stunt man Cliff Booth, who is described as ‘more than a brother, less than a wife.’ Brad Pitt plays the role of Cliff Booth to perfection. He’s in a top form even though it might look like you’re seeing him play a composite of characters he’s already played before. But the performance is enjoyable nonetheless.

Margot Robbie, who plays Sharon Tate should have been given more screen time and more material. After all, the movie is on her murder but this flaw is all on Tarantino. Margot does what little part is given to her to perfection. But that still doesn’t mean that I’m not bitter about her part being so short.

Even though I feel like the movie was only about Rick Dalton, I have to say, Leo gave an inspiring performance. All the best scenes of the movie are reserved for his character and he does them justice. His character is a man with confidence so fragile that if you say a bad word about his work he starts crying. However, if you praise him only a little, he still ends up crying. This was a portrayal of sensitive masculinity and for that I applaud DiCaprio.

The Art of Guest Appearances

If there’s one thing that this film has taught other filmmakers, is how to use cameos. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has way too many cameo appearances and yet they didn’t feel like such. There were no slow motions or introduction scenes. Some cameo, you’re not even going to be able to spot. It’s when the credits roll in and you’ll realize why that person seemed so familiar. The cameos are like fun little surprises to spot throughout the film.

The Verdict on Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

As I’ve said above, we’re going to be talking about this movie for ages. So, what you’re waiting for? Be a part of history and watch this movie while it’s screening in theaters. Actually, watch it two times because once is not enough to capture all there is to see in this movie. However, if you don’t know much about the ’60s or the pop culture of that time, you’re going to find the moving lacking. The strength of the film lies in nostalgia after all.

I’m giving Once Upon a Time in Hollywood an 8 out of 10.

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