Unconventional Tarantino but Still Satisfying: Rotten Tomatoes Users Weigh in on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Check out some of the insightful user reviews for Quentin Tarantino's ode to the Los Angeles of 1969, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

by | July 29, 2019 | Comments

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino‘s ninth film (if you count the Kill Bill movies as one), just earned him his highest opening-weekend box office, so it’s safe to say mainstream audiences were primed and ready for another of the maverick director’s stylized adventures. Currently sitting Certified Fresh at 84% on the Tomatometer, the rambling tour through the Los Angeles of 1969 ranks just below Django Unchained in Tarantino’s filmography, marking only the latest critical hit in a career full of them.

But what did average moviegoers think of the movie? Once Upon a Time currently holds an Audience Score of 72%, which ties 2007’s Death Proof as the lowest of any of his films. Is 72% a bad score? Not by any means, but considering Tarantino’s reputation as a filmmaker, it indicates a certain level of dissatisfaction not commonly associated with his movies. With that in mind, we decided to take a peek at the user reviews to get a broader sense of how the moviegoing public at large responded to the film and suss out what might have brought that Audience Score down just a touch more than we expected. Check out the user reviews of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and let us know what you thought of the film, and these reviews, in the comments. (Note, some of the reviews have been slightly edited for length and grammar/spelling.)

Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures
(Photo by Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures)

How does this compare to Tarantino’s previous work?

Not Tarantino’s best.
– Sean W C, 2.5 stars

This is for the hardcore Tarantino fan. Good, but not mind-blowing..
– Sean B, 3 stars

It was just OK. The most un-Tarantino movie he’s made.
– Stephen M, 3 stars

Tarantino never ceases to make a masterpiece time and time again. The cinematics were pleasing, classic, and very on brand… If you are a fan of good visuals, excellent acting, and a compelling storyline with Tarantino’s classic touches as the cherry on top, then this is the movie to see.
– Zada, 5 Stars

What a wild ride. The first two hours are definitely a different take from Tarantino, very different from his usual stuff. But the last 40-or-so minutes are unmistakably Tarantino in full.
– Kyle, 5 stars

I really enjoyed the movie. It was a bit different from Quentin’s other movies, but nonetheless the cast pulled it off. The movie kept me wondering, and then I really got to see what the tale was, and was immediately hooked and impressed. It’s safe to say Tarantino hasn’t lost his touch. I would like to watch it again.
– Jay A, 5 stars

Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures
(Photo by Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures)

How is the pacing and plot?

Terrible movie — no plot, no entertainment value, just three hours of pointless dialogue. Wow, I don’t know how people enjoy this crap. Literally nothing happened until the last 20 minutes! Nothing! Do not see this movie!!!
– Matthew K, 0.5 stars

Not his best work. Meandering and pointless. Very disappointing.
– David S,  2 stars

There really is not any character development or a main driving plot in the film. I would closely relate it to Pulp Fiction, in that it’s more of a series of random but loosely collected clips. A lot of people left the theater asking, “What was the point of this ?” I think the film would be more enjoyable at home when there is time to burn; there’s just too much dead time that could’ve been removed and made this movie ~1.5 hours shorter.
– Daves_Ratings,  2 stars

A little long. Could have cut out about 1/3 of the movie.
– Stephen M, 3 stars

This movie, to me, is a triumph. Although devoid of a clear plot/narrative, Tarantino crafts the dialogue and characters in ways which make it fun to watch. And although the second act tends to drag at times, the overall story is a blast to watch, along with incredibly written characters acted perfectly (especially DiCaprio and Pitt). Also, the incredibly entertaining first two hours and 15 minutes lead into what may be my favorite scene in a movie this year.
– David A, 4.5 stars

I love Tarantino’s attention to detail, nuance and creativity. The camera tells a story in every scene. If you like fast food more than well-marinated, slow-cooked steak, then this might not appeal to you.
– CO Critic, 5 stars

Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures
(Photo by Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures)

What about the cast?

The stars carried it.
– Steven B, 2.5 stars

I enjoyed the movie, but it wasn’t one of Tarantino’s best. Great acting. Great camera work. Great sound track. But it didn’t have the energy of Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill 1 and 2. Maybe I just expected too much.
– Gene, 3 stars

Movie was enjoyable fun and Leo and Brad were electric together.
– Gina, 3.5 stars

Damn fine filmmaking! I want a Rick Dalton movie, stat!
– Damien C, 4.5 stars

A wonderful, meandering road with superb acting performances by both DiCaprio and Pitt that eventually leads us to one hell of an ending. If you’re a Tarantino fan, or a fan of any of these actors, you should love this movie.
– Mike M, 5 stars

DiCaprio Delivers yet Again. One of the best ensemble pieces in years. Brad Pitt was phenomenal and nuanced. Will see again.
– Siskel No Ebert, 5 stars

Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures
(Photo by Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures)

And the historical context?

Do some research before watching. A big overarching plot point in the film (which I didn’t know going in) is centered on a famous cult murder from the 1960-70 period.
– Daves_Ratings, 2 stars

A good story, but it lacks most of the thrill and suspense often found in his films. The difference with this one is that it explores Hollywood as a past and present establishment more than creating specific stories with protagonists who set out to achieve clearly defined goals.
– Mark, 3.5 stars

Loved the ’60s eye candy from small, well-curated objects like Aqua Net hairspray and the ode to ’60s neon signs… All in all, a wonderful stroll down memory lane (my era) by a director who has a unique personal style.
– Amy, 3.5 stars

Recreation of the era and the story, cast, and characters will make you want to see this one again.
– Thomas, 5 stars

@ Columbia Pictures
(Photo by @ Columbia Pictures)

What about that ending?

The last 15 minutes were good. Too drawn out.
– Barry M, 2 stars

I found the movie boring. The end was way too violent and weird. Very weird. Some people walked out early, and some people applauded the ending. It’s just a matter of personal taste, I guess.
– Donna W, 2.5 stars

The ending was a little disappointing and actually had some humor in it.
– Gina, 3.5 stars

I don’t want to spoil anything, but I was not expecting the ending at all.
– Zada, 5 stars

Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures
(Photo by Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures)

Any final thoughts?

I feel misled about this movie; it’s Helter Skelter revisited. I do not think that I would have gone to see this movie if I would have known.
– Ray B, 3 stars

This movie is so much fun! Don’t miss it. Tarantino, DiCaprio, and Pitt knock it out of the park. They will both get Oscar nods, well deserved. Can’t wait to see it again… and again.
– Warren W, 4.5 stars

Check out all of the user reviews for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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