Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is one of the most anticipated films of 2019. Set in Hollywood during the Manson murders, we’ve been inundated with sneak peeks of Quentin Tarantino’s latest venture, which looks undeniably brilliant – but the film has already courted controversy and we can’t ignore it.
During the film’s press tour, Margot Robbie’s minimal screen time and few lines in the film were revealed, sparking online furore. When questioned about the subject during the film’s press tour, the controversial director defended his decision: “It’s not her story, it’s Rick’s story. It’s not even Cliff’s” he explained. “And Tate is an angelic presence throughout the movie, she’s an angelic ghost on earth, to some degree, she’s not in the movie, she’s in our hearts”.
That wasn’t enough to convince the people of Twitter, who described Tarantino as “sheer arrogance”. Others questioned why Brad Pitt and Leo Di Caprio didn’t step in to help Robbie, with one user writing: “Brad and Leonardo literally did nothing to help Margot in this uncomfortable situation, they could‘ve said something, could have answered this question, sent support but no they just crossed their arms and did nothing”.
This is not the first time Tarantino has come under scrutiny for his representation of women on screen. But since the #MeToo movement’s rise to prominence, it’s a conversation that’s more important than ever.
On the one hand, Tarantino has created some of the fiercest, most iconic female characters of all time including Mia Wallace and Elle Driver, but they have also been subjected to intense violence and sexualisation. Uma Thurman, who played Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, claimed Tarantino pressured her into performing dangerous stunts, including driving a damaged car that left the actress with permanent damage to her neck and knees, and she revealed the director once spat in her face.
As for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, are we trying to paint Tarantino with the #MeToo brush based on accusations or is the portrayal of Sharon Tate’s character a genuine depiction of her innocence?
According to Margot, “the wonderful sides of her could be done without speaking. I did feel like I got a lot of time to explore the character without dialogue, which is an interesting thing”. She may not have as many lines as her male co-stars, but her character is also not being portrayed in Taratino’s typical formula.
I guess we’ll have to wait until the film’s release to make a proper judgment for ourselves.