With Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino takes us all back to a bygone era. Using clever filmmaking tricks, he brings 1969 Hollywood to vivid life, painting a picture that's as gorgeously rendered as it is revealing. Not only is the movie brilliantly executed and thematically mature, it also ranks among the filmmaker's best (right up there with Pulp Fiction, to which he actually compared this film).
For some, the movie's success owes itself to Tarantino's deft direction. For others, it's all about Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. But for Sharon Tate's sister Debra, Margot Robbie's performance sold the entire picture. Her role may have seemed limited to some, but for Debra, it was absolutely perfect. For Debra, she was Sharon Tate.
According to Vanity Fair, Quentin Tarantino invited Debra Tate to watch Margot Robbie film one of her best scenes. According to Debra, Robbie's spot-on performance was a tearjerker. The scene follows Sharon as she attends a matinee showing of The Wrecking Crew alone and enjoys the film with unwitting strangers. It's a tender, vulnerable moment that showcases Robbie's talent and skill as an actress and takes the focus away from DiCaprio and Pitt for a few precious minutes.
She made me cry because she sounded just like Sharon. The tone in her voice was completely Sharon, and it just touched me so much that big tears [started falling]. The front of my shirt was wet. I actually got to see my sister again...nearly 50 years later.
After Debra Tate saw the entire movie at its premiere, she was able to go into a bit more depth about how Quentin Tarantino's film impacted her.
The thing that touched me the most -- it wasn’t that Leo and Brad were such famous movie stars. It was Margot, and who she was and her qualities, and the potential to place Sharon and really give it to an audience. ... She was so sweet and so kind, intelligent, and lighter than the air in every way...And Margot did a beautiful job at portraying that.
Debra Tate continued, wishing the film could've focused even more on her sister:
When I read the whole script, I knew that the real meat of the story was going to be Leo and Brad Pitt’s characters. I mean, I really wish that Quentin Tarantino would do the Sharon Tate story, and I would love to see Margot play [that]...But that was not the movie that Quentin had written, and I knew it and I understood it. And it was his vision. I’m not going to tell anybody that has done such a wonderful job, and a respectful job at honoring a particular situation, that they have to do my version of a story. Although I really wish he would’ve.
Sharon Tate's story is a true tragedy, and Tarantino handles her character and her life carefully and respectfully. Even if his film as a whole is unabashedly light in tone.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is currently killing it in theaters. Have you seen it?