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Did Cliff Booth kill his wife in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”?

What happened to that harpoon, Cliff?

It’s been a bit since Tarantino’s masterpiece Once upon a time in hollywood came out. And I think we had enough time to examine one of the central questions in characterizing the film. It goes unanswered, although it is often addressed.

So what do you think Did Cliff Booth Really Kill His Wife?

Check out this video from Strats, and let’s talk after the jump.

Did Cliff Booth Kill His Wife?

Here’s what we know Cliff was out at sea with his wife. She was drunk and berated him. He was drinking and holding a harpoon. She died. But did he shoot her and dump her body, or did she just fall out of the boat and drown? It was a restless day, but nothing bad.

We know a lot of people in Hollywood think Cliff did it, except for his friend Rick Dalton. But Rick just couldn’t want to be alone, which made it reasonable for him to lie.

Or, Cliff could just have a bad rap, which could lead people to attribute something despicable to him rather than a tragic accident.

Even people in real Hollywood are divided on whether or not he did it.

If I had to sit here and decide whether or not he did it, I’d probably have to say he didn’t.

I think the boat jerked and she probably hit her head, fell over, and drowned on her own. The reason I think this is because I think the film Once upon a time in Hollywood It’s about how hard it is to be known for a cause. When you think of the moments that make up your career or your celebrity, we see people like Rick Dalton care about their legacy. How will they be remembered?

Opposite him is Cliff Booth, a guy who seems to have been a great stuntman before that ubiquitous rumor derails about who he is and how he’s seen. At the end of the film, Cliff becomes a hero who saves Rick from the Manson family and likely changes the terms of his inheritance. He becomes a real killer to live up to his legacy, but this time around, his actions are justified.


Recognition: Andrew Cooper / Sony Pictures

This would reflect how Rick gets another chance to live up to his own legacy as an actor, as the film ends with him getting included in a Polanski movie. It also reflects the story of Sharon Tate, who in this film is known to survive and become the screen legend she was denied in real life.

This kind of circular feels to me and would tie in with the hopeful and solemn Hollywood narrative at the heart of this film.

But I could be completely wrong. That’s my opinion, but I want to hear your ideas. Did Cliff Booth kill his wife or was it all just a misunderstanding?

Let me know in the comments.

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