Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is once again under attack by feminists.
The film first came under fire after it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and a reporter questioned Tarantino regarding the amount of lines Margot Robbie has. Tarantino responded to the #MeToo loaded question with a simple, “Well, I just reject your hypothesis.”
Since, the film is now seeing a wider release, it’s coming under attack again. This time The Hollywood Reporter’s Joelle Monique is leading the charge. In a lengthy article Monique claims that Tarantino built his career on using violence against women as a humorous “punchline.” In fact, she writes, ” violence against women is generally played for laughs in a Tarantino picture.”
**Warning Spoilers for Once Upon A Time in Hollywood Below**
She specifically targets Once Upon A Time in Hollywood because the film showcases the murder of the followers of Charles Manson, two of which are women. Monique writes, “the conclusion was reached by murdering those young adults — two of them young women — in a comedic and explosively violent manner.” She adds, “While they’re certainly responsible for their own actions, it seems short-sighted to mark them strictly as villains worthy of slaughter.”
However, Monique then pushes the wild narrative that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is normalizing violence.
“While as in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, there can often be an understanding that the women in Tarantino films have earned the violence done to them, it can be unsettling to consider that art consumed in mass could help normalize violence many real women are faced with daily. One in four women in the U.S. will suffer a violent act at the hands of an intimate partner. Twenty thousand phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide daily. A series of scenes where women are violently injured can be triggering or induce painful memories of loved ones who have survived similar ordeals.”
This wild narrative has been debunked numerous times. Professor of Psychology Christopher Ferguson discussed this narrative just last year. He definitively declared, “there is no evidence to support these claims that violent media and real-world violence are connected.” In fact, he points to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2011 that ruled “that research did not find a clear connection between violent video games and aggressive behavior. Criminologists who study mass shootings specifically refer to those sorts of connections as a “myth.””
Monique would not be the only one to attack Tarantino and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. Rich Juzwiak at Jezebel would spend nearly an entire article deriding how the film portrayed Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate and specifically pointed out her perceived lack of dialogue.
Juzwiak wrote, “The audience learns about as much about Tate from these male characters as we do from Tate herself.” He would later write, “But there’s so much more shittiness toward woman in Once Upon a Time that is delivered without much of a moral judgement.”
Juzwiak would also take aim at how the Manson girls are killed, “the brutality exacted on the women is straight-up shocking, and I say this as someone with an iron stomach for cinematic carnage.” He adds, “I’m highly suspicious of Tarantino’s motivation here.”
New Yorker writer Anthony Lane would also take aim at Tarantino for the deaths of the Manson girls, and much like Monique was “freaked” out that the audience laughed.
“One was the sudden, insane burst of brutality that is inflicted by men upon women. And the other was the reaction of the people around me in the auditorium to that monstrosity. They laughed and clapped. No one was surprised. The jitters have become a joke.”
What do you think of these criticisms? Does the director use violence against women as a humorous prop in his film? Or are people missing the point? Let me know your thoughts!