Director's nostalgic trip in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood


Casually went to see Once Upon a Time In Hollywood with friends in the evening, and ended up in a nostalgic trip that didn't connect. I had heard it was a long movie, and I am okay with watching a lengthy film as long as it's under 3 hours. Or else I would have to take a restroom break, and I hate going to the bathroom in the middle of a movie. However, if the director wants the audience to sit there for 3 hours, he/she better have a good story to tell! With our busy social media lifestyle, who has 3 hours to waste, right?

Full disclosure, I did hear about the gruesome Charles Manson murder story, but I didn't know anything further than that. I am not obsessed with a murderer or a killer's story, so I didn't do my research or preparation before going to see it. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is not a movie that can stand on its feet. To whom who don't know much about what happened in the '60s, this movie could appear to be pretty dull, disorganized, and bizarre. As I was watching the movie, I kept falling in and out of WTF moments, in a bad way. To compare, it's like westerners who know nothing about Chinese culture, go to see a traditional Chinese opera related movie. In this situation, you have to find elements that you can connect to, to enjoy, or to appreciate the film. Unfortunately, other than the last segment, I tried hard not to fall asleep.

Without knowing the history, Sharon Tate's character was incredibly shallow and meaningless. The role didn't add anything to the movie unless you read about the murder history. I always love Margot Robbie and her work, but joining Once Upon a Time In Hollywood seems to be a wrong decision other than adding Quentin Tarantino to her portfolio. Watching this movie gave me doubt on her acting, felt like maybe she is not that good.

This movie didn't make me forget who the actors were in real life. Brad Pitt as a stunt double? Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie? Not a second I lost in the story and forgot who they are. With the booming online streaming business, we have seen and discovered so many talented people in the film industry. Turning on Netflix or Prime Video, I can easily find good movies or shows that are creative and incredible, and this movie just felt dated. I wonder if this was one of those situations when a famous director lost his charm. The clumsy storytelling made me cringe. I love the director, and I wanted to love the movie, but somehow, I wished there's a better use of my 3 hours. We love it or hate it, and I bet it doesn't matter to the director, it seems this is something personal to him, a nostalgic trip that he has planned for himself.

You can agree or disagree; this was just my honest and personal experience. If you haven't watched the movie and are planning to go, I would recommend you to spend your afternoon to read up the details of Charles Manson murder story, or else you may think it's as lifeless as I thought.

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