Chance’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sunset Boulevard changed my life when I was 15 years old. No, seriously, it has shaped my entire cinematic experience since the first time I caught it on Turner Classic Movies. It sparked a craving within me, a craving to actively seek out the classics, and I haven't looked back since.
In Sunset Boulevard, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), a faded silent star living in a booming talkie era, has retreated to the dark, musty chambers of her crumbling mansion. Her only companion is her devoted manservant, Max (Erich von Stroheim), until a struggling, screenwriting stud named Joe Gillis (William Holden) stumbles into her foyer while on the run from a couple of goons looking to tow his car. Seeking help from one another, Joe needing a sugar momma, Norma needing a completed script of Solame, they soon become entangled in each other's webs.
The beauty of Sunset Boulevard lies in all the bizarre realities mixed in with fiction. The hundreds of photos Norma surrounds herself with, mirrors of her (younger) past, are all real publicity shots of Gloria Swanson from the silent days of cinema. The film that Norma loves to watch in her private theater is a film called Queen Kelly, which was actually directed by her co-star, Erich von Stroheim. It's a sign that art is imitating life. If that doesn't give you goosebumps, then there's also the familiar friends that Norma keeps, such as Buster Keaton, H.B. Warner, Anna Q. Nilsson, Hedda Hopper and Cecil B. DeMille (another man who once directed Gloria).
Overall, Sunset Boulevard is the perfect movie. I know that term gets thrown around a lot, but this film has brilliant direction, a sharp script, and fantastic performances. Gloria was robbed of her Best Actress Oscar. ROBBED! Anyways.......
If there's anything left to say, then that's thank you, Sunset Boulevard. You showed me the way.