The Notorious Bettie Page (2006)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: This biopic only skims the surface of Bettie Page's life, leaving her as a cipher, and additionally fails to place her iconic status in historical context.

The Notorious Bettie Page Videos

The Notorious Bettie Page Photos

Movie Info

This is the story of the super successful 1950s pin-up model, Bettie Page, one of the first sex icons in America, who was the target of a major Senate investigation -- based on her highly provocative bondage photos.
Rating:
R (for nudity, sexual content and some language)
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Gretchen Mol
as Bettie Page
Chris Bauer
as Irving Klaw
Jared Harris
as John Willie
Lili Taylor
as Paula Klaw
Sarah Paulson
as Bunny Yeager
David Strathairn
as Estes Kefauver
John Cullum
as Preacher In Nashville
Matt McGrath
as Nervous Man
Victor Slezak
as Preacher In Miami
Norman Reedus
as Billy Neal
Kevin Carroll
as Jerry Tibbs
Ann Dowd
as Edna Page
Michael Gaston
as Mr. Gaughan
Jefferson Mays
as Little John
Dan Snook
as Mr. Grimm
Greg Ainsworth
as Man On Street
John Boyd
as Jack Page
Geoffrey Cantor
as Director At Audition
Max Casella
as Howie
David Call
as Guy 1 At Party
Jaymie Dornan
as Young Jimmy Page
Teddy Eck
as Charlie
Jack Gilpin
as Roy Page
Lars Hanson
as Detective Farrell
Dan Haft
as Photographer 1
Frank Hopf
as Jack Kramer
Ed Jewett
as Bookstore Owner
Alexandra Leclair
as Young Goldie
Edmund Lyndeck
as Father Egan
Molly Moore
as Young Betty
Gary Lundy
as Guy 2 At Party
James J. Pollock
as Court Official
Naelee Rae
as Young Love
Marisa Malone
as Drunken Woman At Party
Alicia Sable
as Goldie
Shelly Mars
as Photographer 2
Ean Sheehy
as Director At Screen Test
Kohl Sudduth
as Police Officer
Randy Miles
as Photographer 3
Hans Tester
as Producer At Screen Test
Michael Boydston-White
as Choir Singer
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Notorious Bettie Page

All Critics (133) | Top Critics (48)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 26, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

A portrait of the centrefold as a closed book.

Full Review… | August 2, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

In Mary Harron's film biography of the nude and naughty pin-up girl, Notorious is synonymous with 'joyless.'

May 26, 2006
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

With her blue-black hair, Mol looks so much like Page that this could be a documentary, and her swings between modesty and exhibitionism are amazingly fluid.

May 11, 2006
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

... the movie's worth a look simply for Mol's career-boosting performance.

May 5, 2006
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Disappointingly skin-deep and almost shockingly wholesome.

May 5, 2006
New York Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Notorious Bettie Page

A bit stiff as a film - biopic by numbers - but Gretchen Mol turns in an excellent performance, having to play everything including a free-spirited pin-up girl at her first acting lessons (i.e., acting like someone who doesn't know how to act, which strikes me as impossible to even think about let alone pull off).

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

½

Gretchen Mol completely captures the essence of Bettie Page in this biopic; she's a naive beauty who accidentally becomes an underground sex symbol. This film successfully places Page in America's sexual more transformation during the 1950s. The writing and direction are excellent, bringing the story of this charming beauty to life. Page was completely unashamed of ber body and her controversial photos; she's innocent yet wicked at the same time. Bettie Page was groundbreaking without realizing it. This film captures her innocent sweetness and unknowing naughty sexuality. While Page, with Irving Klaw and other photograthers, was groundbreaking, this film is not. It places her at the onset of the sexual revolution yet does not expound on that in any way. Its a straightforward story, not an in-depth sociological study.

Clintus Maximus
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

Spanning from the 1930s-50s, this little indie film charts the life and career of legendary pinup model Bettie Page. It's a really well-meaning, but ultimately shallow film, and that's unfortunate. I liked that the film was rather classy, and kept from being too raunchy and exploitative, but at the same time, it feels a little safe, and they probably could have been edgier but still kept it pretty tasteless. I think a lot of the reasons for why the film falls short is that it really doesn't take risks, and has a pretty sketchy script. The film doesn't really give a lot of insights into the characters, it really skirts around some important aspects of her past (like an abusive marriage, childhood abuse, and a gang rape), and fails to incorporate these things into how they affected Page's later life. There's also not much of a character arc either, so the fact that she gives her career up to become a born again Christian seems far more striking than it should. The film shows how Bettie was clearly religious, even when she did risque modeling, but doesn't really provide a strong answer for why she gave it up. With that out of the way, I can get to the praises I have. The costumes, set design, art direction, and cinematography are absolutely brilliant. The era really comes alive in super faithful recreations. It's shot in gorgeous black and white, with some selective use of color that's been altered to make it too appear as if it's from the time period. Best of all has to be the wonderful recreations of the famous photos and video clips. The DVD features include a short film of the actual Bettie, and it is amazing how accurate the film captured her and the era. Of course, a major part of that success has to do with the casting and acting. Gretchen Mol is Page, and she is absolutely wonderful, and this is probably going to be her career defining role, and that'd be just fine. She perfectly captures Bettie's warmth, sweetness, sassiness, and naivete (indeed, the real Page never saw what she did as bad, and always treated the shoots, especially the bondage stuff, as just silly fun and make believe). She has the look down pat, and is the real reason to see the film, even if it isn't an overall success. The rest of the cast is decent, though overshadowed by Mol. My favorites have to be Chris Bauer and Lili Taylor as brother and sister duo Irving and Paula Klaw- the respectable business owners who did fetish shoots on the side. Cara Seymour is likewise good as fellow model Maxie, but in the end, this is truly Mol's movie. I did enjoy the movie, despite it's clear flaws and shortcomings. It does a lot of great things, even though it ultimately fails to totally satisfy. I sort of recommend it, if only for Mol and the technical stuff.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Notorious Bettie Page on our Movie forum!

News & Features