I had never seen Sunset Boulevard, but as with many movies in the historical canon, or not (I also first saw Die Hard this Christmas) one gleans the plot based on pop culture references. Therefore, I knew the name Norma Desmond, and also knew the character was a washed-up star of the silent movie era. Yet I assumed, based on this premise, that the full-of-delusions, faded beauty actress in question was somewhere in her eighties not 50!
Imagine my surprise when I finally decided to watch Sunset Boulevard on a 16 hour flight from Singapore (as well as The Dead Don’t Die, Ad Astra, and Crawl–I refused to watch Dancing Elephant, a Chinese movie about a teen who wakes up from a coma at 30 and 200 pounds but thinks she’s still a ballerina).
Fifty! That’s the age of the character, and Gloria Swanson, the actress who played her was 51. I realize 50 in 1950 is not the same as 50 in 2020, but being so out-of-touch was made even more chilling when I realized how old the character was meant to be.
Apparently, 2019 was “The Year Women Over 50 Reclaimed Their Right to Be Seen.”
I don’t know. Maybe.