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Sunset Story (2003)

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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 122 users   Metascore: 80/100
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Lucille and Irja are retired residents of Sunset Hall, a Los Angeles home for the elderly. Residents of Sunset Hall are retired radicals; they have retired from work but not from protesting... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Lucille Alpert ...
Irja Lloyd ...


Lucille and Irja are retired residents of Sunset Hall, a Los Angeles home for the elderly. Residents of Sunset Hall are retired radicals; they have retired from work but not from protesting against injustice. Bitter Lucille considers herself a realist. Wheelchair-bound Irja is sunny and optimistic. Lucille was raised a Jew but always aspired to assimilate. Irja wants to explore all sorts of new traditions. Through the lives of these women, Sunset Story shows the life at Sunset Hall: teachers, a dancer, an engineer, a social worker, and others, all living out their golden years in a unique environment. Written by Ken Miller <>

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9 October 2003 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

I laughed, I cried
2 October 2003 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

I stood and applauded along with the packed crowd in the theater. This is by far one of the most touching, heart-felt, nuanced looks at aging, death, life, and the friends we leave behind I've ever seen. What starts off seeming like it's going to be a sort of tongue-in-cheek comedic view of an old folk's home for aging activists, becomes instead a personal story between two elderly friends as they deal with the pains - both emotional and physical - of growing old.

And if that turns you off; if you have a picture in your mind that this is going to be a purely weepy, painfully arduous film about old people on the verge of death, you're wrong. There are moments of enlightened humor and brilliance that will make you guffaw out loud. There are inspirational moments that will make you leave the theater wanting to live a fuller life. There are deep moments that have you contemplating your own aging process, as well as your thoughts about what it might be like when you're 75, 85, 95. And yes, there are powerfully, potently sad moments that will have you bawling into your popcorn.

It is, in a nutshell (an overly simplified nutshell), sort of a documentary version of "On Golden Pond", full of the same sweet sadness and auld lang syne (sp?), but with a documentary's ability to sweep aside typical heartstring-pulling cinematic manipulation. Yes, Sunset Story uses a score - a deeply emotional piano score - but it serves the story, enhancing the natural drama playing out on the screen without dictating what emotions you should be feeling at what time.

This documentary should be seen, far and wide.

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