Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Film Club Review – Sunset Boulevard

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.

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One Response to “Film Club Review – Sunset Boulevard”

  1. […] 12. Sunset Boulevard (1950) – Sunset Boulevard is praised by film critics everywhere, though I would hesitate to include it among cinema’s greats. It lacks a certain energy and the narration is redundant, but it is a great tragedy and has some excellent performances.  See my full review here.  […]


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