Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Rave First Reactions at Cannes: 'Brilliant' and 'Shocking'
The director’s ninth film takes place in 1969 Los Angeles and follows TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they make their way around a changing industry — while Charles Manson is on the loose.
Critics in attendance at the premiere of the film had nothing but praise for it, with Gregory Ellwood of The Playlist calling it a “love letter to a time gone by.”
The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw said the “brilliant” film is “shocking, gripping, dazzlingly shot.”
Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson singled out the performances, saying, “DiCaprio and Pitt are funny and brilliant, as is Margot Robbie as sweet Sharon Tate.”
Jason Gorber, the managing editor of That Shelf, tweeted, “#OnceUponATimeInHollywood is a beautiful, brash rumination on the grime and beauty of Hollywood. It is a dirty, sensually realized feat, with many, many shots of dirty, sensualized feet. #QuentinTarantino #Cannes2019.”
The day before it premiered, Tarantino, 56, published an open letter on the social media pages of the film, asking Cannes Film Festival audience members not to spoil the movie in advance, as its world premiere on May 21 comes two months before the theatrical release.
“I love cinema. You love cinema. It’s the journey of discovering a story for the first time,” Tarantino wrote. “I’m thrilled to be here in Cannes to share ‘Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood’ with the festival audience. The cast and crew have worked so hard to create something original, and I only ask that everyone avoids revealing anything that would prevent later audiences from experiencing the film in the same way.”
Tarantino follows in the footsteps of the Russo Brothers, who similarly pleaded with audiences to not spoil their blockbuster hit Avengers: Endgame.
The film also stars Margot Robbie and is Tarantino’s first film premiere at Cannes since Inglourious Basterds in 2009, where Christopher Waltz won for Best Actor.
Despite the fears that Tarantino would be unable to complete the film before the festival, the award-winning filmmaker the task, with the film set to premiere at Cannes 25 years after his film Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize.
The movie, set to come out two weeks before the 50th anniversary of the Manson family murders, also features Damon Harriman as Charles Manson and will explore the murder of Sharon Tate (Robbie) at the hands of the crime family.