Los Angeles, 1969. TV star Rick Dalton, a struggling actor specializing in westerns, and stuntman Cliff Booth, his best friend, try to survive in a constantly changing movie industry. Dalton is the neighbor of the young and promising actress and model Sharon Tate, who has just married the prestigious Polish director Roman Polanski…
Pop culture is what America has instead of mythology.
— Dwight Garner
The lamb-to-the-slaughter suspense of every scene involving Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie—is what gives Once Upon a Time its forward propulsion. But it’s also what leaves viewers, at least this one, uncertain of why Tarantino wanted to tell this story, and to tell it in the largely fictionalized framework he did. […] A revelation about Pitt’s character’s past midway through the movie might change how you respond to the culminating orgy of violence, which, as is often the case in Tarantino films, seems at once like a critique of the vision of masculinity that’s imposed on us by TV and the movies and like a celebration of it
— Dana Stevens (Slate)
The movie’s most prominent female character, Sharon Tate (Robbie), is given even less substance; she is depicted as an ingenuous Barbie doll who ditzily admires herself onscreen.
— Richard Brody (The New Yorker)