User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15

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User Reviews

  1. Jan 17, 2016
    8
    Harron's biography, specializing on Page's early life, start in pin-ups and notoriety due to being the target for a Senate hearing on indecency and her subsequent born-again Christianity, is very enjoyable, and Gretchen Mol is great at portraying the inner sexiness, naivety and Southern charm that made the Nashville-born Page take the world by storm. Though it made the biopic more gracefulHarron's biography, specializing on Page's early life, start in pin-ups and notoriety due to being the target for a Senate hearing on indecency and her subsequent born-again Christianity, is very enjoyable, and Gretchen Mol is great at portraying the inner sexiness, naivety and Southern charm that made the Nashville-born Page take the world by storm. Though it made the biopic more graceful by concentrating on the earlier times, it would have been more complete had it also included her later, troubled times, punctuated with brushes with the law and institutionalization for schizophrenia, as well as being greatly financially troubled due to not getting royalties for her years of photo-work and celebrity. Thankfully, late in life, that was rectified and she was able to live her last years decently and in happiness, dying of a heart attack at 85, three years after seeing Harron's work come to light, and her success come full circle... Expand
  2. HalB.
    May 5, 2007
    8
    An unexpected delight. A quirky little black & white film that transports us back into the 30s, 40s and 50s. This is essentially a character study of one of the more fascinating individuals to come out of the 20th century, and it serves as an indictment of our still-repressed culture. Mol's performance is not to be missed. Can you say "Wow!"?
  3. ChadShiira
    Oct 22, 2006
    8
    Bettie Page (Gretchen Mol) was every man's fantasy, and that's where the filmmaker keeps her, on the pages of a magazine and in scratchy 8mm film. We never see her having sex with anybody. That's a very nice touch, and "The Notorious Bettie Page" is a very nice film. No movie since Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire" uses both black and white and color photography so Bettie Page (Gretchen Mol) was every man's fantasy, and that's where the filmmaker keeps her, on the pages of a magazine and in scratchy 8mm film. We never see her having sex with anybody. That's a very nice touch, and "The Notorious Bettie Page" is a very nice film. No movie since Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire" uses both black and white and color photography so judiciously. Black and white does New York justice, as color does the same for a Miami holiday. "The Notorious Bettie Page" is essentially a film about pornography, albeit the period this film captures is an industry still in its infancy, still largely underground. In a bravura sequence, a home movie of the "pornographers" and their models begins innocently enough with fun and games(badminton and croquet); then out comes the rope, and a woman is tied to a tree(more fun and games; bondage), as Peggy Lee sings about "a good day" over the soundtrack. It's interesting to juxtapose this moment with the testimony of a man, later in the film, who blames Bettie's people(the Klaws, Chris Bauer and Lili Taylor) for the unexpected termination of a life. Did Bettie really sin? Is pornography, or even the existence of the female form, harmful? The latter, a question as old as Christianity itself when pertaining to "art". After her career, the pin-up queen is saved, but "you gotta sin to be saved". Bettie professes guilt over career in "modeling", band yet at the moment of their creation, she doesn't look at all guilty, in neither the nude nor the bondage sessions. I can't tell if this aspect of the filmmaker's storytelling is a little muddled, or that the intent is to keep Page on the enigmatic side, with fond remembrance. Mol is awesome. Expand
  4. ChristopherJ.
    Jun 19, 2006
    9
    Gretchen Mol proves here that she is, or soon will be, a superstar.
  5. DaveM.
    Aug 31, 2006
    10
    The tone of the movie is flawless. Fun to watch. It makes you wish that life could be that simple.
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 50
    Not for nothing is this movie opening on Good Friday. It can be as boring as church. There's no snake in Bettie's Eden and no narrative to Harron's movie. It's more of an altar piece: Our Lady of the Garter Belt, the Fastidious Bettie Page.
  2. 75
    Mol nails it, in a performance that should earn her a comeback on a Heath Ledger-like scale.
  3. The movie, in a sense, is just like Bettie's photos: all glorious surface. The Notorious Bettie Page captures, with seductive finesse, how Bettie Page happened, yet what it leaves us with is the tantalizing enigma of a girl who couldn't truly be ''bad'' because she made sex divinely delicious.