framely’s review published on Letterboxd:
So I finally watched this one.
The first act is wonderful. It establishes an interesting mystery, we’re introduced to a mysterious, intriguing woman and we get a good premise for the film. You can feel there’s something wrong going on. I was dying to find out what it was.
The second act was pretty strong as well. The struggles and relationship between Joe and Norma, and even Max was fantastic. They’re three wonderful characters that are given brilliant dialogue.
The third act is a little weaker in my opinion, mainly because of one reason. I hated Nancy Olson’s performance. Sure, it’s hard to get a performance as good as Swanson’s but this is far from that, this is just bad. She’s overacting, her delivery’s always unnatural, she feels like a different woman from one moment to another, but not because that’s how the character’s written, but because she’s not playing her part correctly. At least that’s what I think.
Anyway, the story’s great, the three main characters are great. Norman’s tragic obsession and madness were a result of the way Hollywood worshipped young actresses (and I guess still does). On the other hand, Betty’s passion was a result of her love for storytelling, she’d been rejected by the studios. These two characters work really well together, specially when we see them through our protagonist Joe, who starts the film as a man who always takes what he wants through the easiest ways, a man who’s trapped both in a love triangle of sorts and a decision to do what he wants or do what’s right.
I also didn’t expect this to be a film noir. What a nice surprise. It’s great, I love the narration.
There, Amrit. I saw it. Now I’ll get back to my Scavenger Hunt. Or if I’m lazy I might count this as #1 on the hunt. We’ll see.