Film Club Review – Sunset Boulevard
Billy Wilder’s classic film about an aging actress who can’t give up her glory years is a truly tragic tale for both Norma Desmond and Joe Gillis, the struggling writer she takes in to her home. Joe has a chance at a normal life but gives it up because he is too comfortable with the world she has provided for him, while she cannot move on from being a giant star in the silent film era.
I wonder if this film really needed William Holden’s voice-over or whether the story could hold up on its own without it. Honestly, I didn’t like the narration all that much. It felt like it was describing the obvious too often.
Gloria Swanson does an amazing job of creating a sad, eerie, yet real portrayal of Norma, while Erich von Stroheim is in a good supporting role as yet another tragic character. Nancy Olsen lights up the screen as the girl who could be Gillis’ way out of his trapped life.
Sunset is a wonderfully constructed film with heavy themes of classic tragedy, and the final scene where she descends the staircase is truly a larger-than-life scene. Yet it didn’t have quite the energy for it to be among the ranks of some of my all-time favorites.
I’m going to go with an 8/10.