Angeles ✨’s review published on Letterboxd:
I am big. It's the pictures that got small.
Billy Wilder once described this movie in a curious way, he said Sunset Boulevard is the story of a man who wanted a pool, got a pool, and ultimately drowned in a pool.
—That is not a spoiler, since it is shown in the first 5 minutes of the movie, the important thing is how it happened.
I want to say so many things about this film, but I don't know how to put together those ideas, so I'm reviewing it based on what Wilder said about the movie.
Joe Gillis is a man desperate for money; so when he sees the oportunity of working with a former movie star, Norma Desmond, a famous actress from the silent era of film, he accepts writing a script with her, even if that script is awful. He gets a job as her screewriter. He sees all the wealth of Norma Desmond, the fame, the fashion, the success, the shiny awards, and the giant house with a pool.
He gets a job there, and Norma also allows him to stay at her mansion, living rent free. She also buys him nice clothes and even if he doesn't feel happy there, he enjoys the luxuries and the vastness, the parties and the tuxedos and the custom-made shoes. Now he can take a dive in the pool he always wanted. Everything is going well.
He gets what he wanted.
And now the downfall begins. He doesn't see the house as the wealthy, luxury palace he saw at the beggining; he now sees a haunted mansion, full of the ghosts of the past and Norma's delusions of greatness. The bowling alley and the eight master bedrooms, they seem boring and lonely now. Where he used to see awards and big portraits he now sees pictures full of dust and prizes no one will remember except the person who won them.
He realizes his desperation for money has led him to be a puppet, a man with no integrity. He sees now things as they really are, he has become Norma's pet. But he can't go back to his previous life, he refuses. He says he likes it, but he knows he's miserable.
He died, not only literally but he has also left behind the man he used to be and his dreams and his past self behind.