Pippin’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sunset Boulevard is one of those movies I just can't stop thinking about. I think it is much more a horror movie than simply a drama. Seeing William Holden's character, Joe Gillis, basically trapped with Gloria Swanson's character, Norma Desmond, is frightening. While technically Joe could leave, Norma's power and her ability to guilt trip someone made it very difficult.
The messages in this movie are also still relevant today. A big one that stuck with me: Hollywood has, and probably always will, have this obsession with age. Youth is good, anything else is unwanted. With all the advertisements for anti-aging and the prevalence of plastic surgery, people are trying to stay youthful until death. As Joe says, "There's nothing tragic about being 50, unless you try to be 25."
Holden is great in his role, having lines to make the audience laugh, as well as feel emotionally invested. Sometimes characters with "one-liners" are hard to feel emotional towards, but Holden has a good balance to make it feel extra real.
Swanson's performance is also amazing. She does so well in portraying this sad character. Even though Norma does a lot of unlikable things, you can't help but feel sorry for her. What happened to Norma happened to many silent film stars. When "talkies" came out, many silent film stars did not make the transition well.
I could go on forever about Sunset Boulevard and Billy Wilder's genius design, but I'll end on this final note: Sunset Boulevard is part drama and part horror, and feels fresh and relevant despite being from 1950.