Spoilers … like lots and lots of Spoilers.
First, I have not read any reviews, or critical analysis of the film, so apologies if this has already been echoed online. I just got out of a 7am viewing of Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the Cineramadome. I suggest you do the same. The film is up there as one of his greatest, and for me, it leaves me digging and finding treasures like a crack addict trying to scrape the pipe for another hit. Haven’t felt this way since I saw Pulp Fiction and talked about the briefcase and the band-aide on the back of Marsellus Wallace”s head.
On the “surface” this is a western, mostly about westerns shot in Hollywood, when Hollywood could be seen going through it’s “western” phase. Tarantino nails it showing tinseltown as a dust bowl, saloon driven, wild west where anything, even a dude like Charlie Manson existing, could happen.
It’s also about the Bible.
Well, the way I see it, Brad Pitt is an anti-hero, the real cowboy doing real cowboy shit. Fighting dudes, going into the lion’s lair, saving the day. We don’t know if he’s good or bad, did he kill his wife or not, don’t matter none, like Dirty Harry, he’s in it for himself.
He’s also the one that is leading Leo through the whole movie, driving him around, giving him advice, carrying his bags, boosting his ego, and yeah “carrying the load” Fanny. Sounds a lot like the Holy Spirit. At the end when those hippies announce they are the devil to do “the devil’s work” who protects Leo … Brad.
Leo does toast the last one. He literally sets water on fire to smite his enemies. I mean that’s pretty biblical shit.
But most of all … we can’t ignore the ending where Quinten kinda beats us over the head with the Holy metaphor. First, we see Jay Sebring … or … JC as he’s called over the speaker through the gates. Not just gates. See those lights around the gates? Look like giant … pearls? yeah, they do, hence, pearly gates. And the intercom talking to Leo … kinda like, I donno, the voice of God? Calling him through the gates? Yeah kinda … we then go up and over the house, a reverse of a shot earlier in the film, to see a “God view” of the backyard where Leo is received and told “he is a great actor” the divine gift he’s been searching for. There’s also two cars there, which are the same two cars we’ve seen in the movie the whole time, just, divine versions of them. This is heaven.
I have to see the film again … I think there are a lot more themes and gifts like these that are woven in the story… Sharon Tate wearing white boots then seen barefoot in the theater, then the hippie girl representing temptation putting her feet up in the car … the book she buys for Roman … the way the child actor is portrayed, calling Disney a genius (who pushed the princess archetype into society as far as it would go) and saying “sometimes I throw myself down even when I’m not acting” cause she has hidden “padding” protecting her … vs the extreme violence he shows towards “modern feminists” represented by the face bashed hippies. Does Brad Pitt represent toxic masculinity pushing his way past the army of women to check on the old blind man of yesteryear to make sure he’s alright. Does he not threaten the women that he will break every tooth in the only man that is seen as their equal on the ranch? Are the women not dressed exactly the same as the man that come to the home, a sure sign of equality, and after the battle does he not advise Leo to go lie with his beautiful creature of a wife, a token picked up from a foreign crusade in Italy literally the holy-land.
Is OUATIH about how “Hollywood” misrepresented and oppressed women for years to come? Is this Tarantino’s message? Did Leo find salvation at the end of the film or is destined to live a phony life? Find out next time, same Bat blog, same Bat URL.
Oh … tell me no one saw that “shining” painting of Leo in the driveway shift his gaze from right to left, literally staring at him in the last scene? Wanna talk about that shit?
Oh … the commercials on the radio … I mean when we see Polanski and Tate there is literally an ad for “heaven scent” cologne. I mean … (Thanks Jackie for that one;)