Sunset Boulevard ★★★★★

Godly film. Perfect camera, perfect meta, and it manages to capture both the illustrious golden age of silent cinema within a completely separate decade. Stories about older women are really important to capture in Hollywood because they are so lacking, and Sunset Boulevard makes Norma Desmond into a decaying queen on a throne of brass. I've never seen such glamour contrasted with such sadness. Although it likely had no impact on the star system in Hollywood, it's easy to see why the studio-driven system was losing favor.
It's also beautifully tragic in a way that doesn't seem hammy or overwrought, in part because of Norma's final moments on screen. The lack of remorse displayed by her in the face of potentially being on screen once again is something profound--it's hard to see her as anything but sympathetic if only for a moment. There is a larger story here about making it and being forgotten rather than not making it at all--which is worse? Sure, you will never touch glory for a brief moment and have the world fall in love with you, but at the very least you did not have far to fall to begin with. When you crash from the top, you crash very hard and potentially may never truly recover, living your life knowing that you'll never get it back.

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