User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14

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  1. Feb 9, 2012
    The Notorious Bettie Page, a biopic of the infamous pin-up icon, is a mildly entertaining romp through Page's early life and modelling career. Gretchen Mol is spot-on as Page, she looks the part and perfectly captures her iconic poses. Jared Harris is also good as seedy British photographer John Willie, as is David Strathairn as Estes Kefauver as a senator investigating the negative impact of pornography on the American people. I also like the stylistic decision to film partially in black-and-white and partially in garish technicolor - it works really well in terms of setting the tone of particular scenes, with Page's formative years and earlier modelling experiences presented with a nostalgic, classic Hollywood appearance, and her celebrity lifestyle in Miami and her most iconic magazine covers presented as garish, striking splashes of colour. Unfortunately, the film does not seem to say an awful lot about anything, beyond a meagre attempt to discuss the morality of nude photography and censorship. A lot of the film, in fact, seems to simply be providing something to fill the space between the softcore thrills. I also feel that the story comes to an end just when it starts to get really interesting. I would love to see a film adaptation of Page's later life, a far darker and more complex period that would offer genuine scope for real drama. That's the main disappointment about The Notorious Bettie Page, for a story of such a controversial figure, the film comes across as a little tame. Director Mary Harron and her co-writer Guinevere Turner could have been so much braver and really gotten behind Bettie Page's motivations, and her seemingly contradictory moral code. As it is, the film is pleasant, but a little limp and uninspiring. I don't begrudge watching such a competent film, but I never felt I got to understand Bettie Page, so as a biopic, it ultimately fails. Expand

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.