You can't love Quentin Tarantino's ninth and final film without loving cinema.
We usually see the opposite phenomenon.
If you love cinema then you will love a well-made movie.
Exactly the opposite happens here. "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is so full of references to a Hollywood that it was, it's so referential and at times self-referential, so meta, that it's impossible to fully appreciate it without being real movie lovers ourselves.
Seeing this movie without loving cinema and getting to know its folds is a bit like going to the movies to see Avengers: Endgame and not having seen the other 22 movies in the Marvel saga. You may like it, you will probably love it but it is impossible that you can appreciate it as who those 22 movies saw and appreciated them one after the other.
Tarantino forgets to be Tarantino for some of the film's traits and returns to being a child. A child who seems to want to document the cinema of those years and above all the context, the air that was breathed around the set, what took place inside the set, the one that animated the actors, that made them despair, that tormented them, that frightened them, that moved them.
Tarantino recounts 1969, what that year in itself he had to tell and what for him and for us could mean today after 50 years.
The director of Pulp Fiction doesn't just remember that world in his own way, it goes much further.
Thanks to its characters we manage to get inside, very much inside that universe, made of bad jokes, missed opportunities, pool parties, broken dreams, adaptations and adaptations.
TV was really the graveyard of elephants, the death of an actor or a director. Not like today where exactly the opposite happens and TV has become a great means of launching and relaunching your career.
Tarantino uses two iconic actors like Brad Pitt and Leonardo Di Caprio to tell us about that iconic world in turn.
It outlines 2 opposite but complementary characters where Cliff Booth serves Rick Dalton as much as Rick Dalton serves Cliff Booth.
Characters over the top, as Quentin's films have accustomed us, with an exaggerated Leonardo Di Caprio, who can not really hold back, offering the best of himself incorporating, 4 years after his last film, all the fragile and self-destructive character of a talented actor who sees his career gradually die before his eyes.
On the other side is Brad Pitt, more and more like Robert Redford, calm, taciturn but no less psychopathic and crazy than Di Caprio.
Together they make an explosive couple even when they talk little or do not speak at all. They are a couple on screen destined to stay for a long time.
The film is a review of legendary characters, places and stories. Bruce Lee and Steve McQueen are just 2 of the movie symbols that was what we see.
The real focus of the whole story is related to the historical events close to the Manson Family and Sharon Tate, actress on the launch pad and wife of Roman Polansky, one of the most popular directors of the time.
Through this storyline Tarantino tries to tell us also the America of those years, that of the Hippieand and the war in Vietnam, that of auteur cinema and the Hollywood Hills.
All these events will soon be intertwined and culminate in a Tarantino finale, which most Tarantinian could not have expected.
"Once Upon a time in Hollywood" has been critically and publicly acclaimed. Nevertheless, it has divided the public much, more than might have been expected.
Reading some comments, speaking to those who saw the film seems to emerge clear the rift between those who loved the film and those who, instead, called it boring and without biting.
If we had to make a statistic we could include in the first group those who call themselves movie lovers, maybe a little nerd and that the history of the Manson Family knew it and well.
In group number 2 those who go to the cinema to attend something special, that the history of cinema know little and that they knew little about the events related to Charles Manson.
Let's get back to the starting point.
This film is a one that is based on the history of the America of those years.
On the other hand, you risk not appreciating it to the full and therefore feeling poor enough when leaving the cinema.
This is the rift that "Once Upon a time" gives us. A huge tribute of Tarantino to the seventh art, made in his own way, building the usual wonderful toy fruit of a genial and even a little boyish mind, which tries for the umpteenth time to make us dream between flamethrowers, knifes, caravans, hippies, hippies and dangerous pooches.
Far away, far from the Kill Bill or Reservoir dog style, but always close to the maximum you might expect entering a cinema room in 2019.