The Notorious Bettie Page - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Notorious Bettie Page Reviews

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Ben Walters
Time Out
August 3, 2006
A portrait of the centrefold as a closed book.
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
May 26, 2006
In Mary Harron's film biography of the nude and naughty pin-up girl, Notorious is synonymous with 'joyless.'
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
May 12, 2006
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.
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Steve Murray
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
May 6, 2006
... the movie's worth a look simply for Mol's career-boosting performance.
Read More | Original Score: C+
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
May 6, 2006
We can't always be sure what's archival and what's simulated because sometimes the filmmakers are trying to fool us. But their preoccupation with the manufacture of images keeps this exercise in exposure and concealment interesting.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
May 6, 2006
Disappointingly skin-deep and almost shockingly wholesome.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
May 5, 2006
But still, who was Bettie Page? The film offers not a clue.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
May 5, 2006
About a time when taking off one's clothes for a camera was notorious. We can't go back there, but this is an enjoyable, uncritical visit.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
May 4, 2006
It isn't a bad film, but it isn't a good film, either. Basically, it's a movie that doesn't have a good reason for having been made.
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
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Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
May 2, 2006
Harron's work here is unclear in its theme or purpose.
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
April 28, 2006
This listless biopic of the famed 1950s model is as timid and tame as her photos seem today.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
April 28, 2006
... it doesn't bring us any closer to understanding Page's life, or the origins of the multi-billion dollar porn industry.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
April 21, 2006
Feels like a rough draft in which one element -- Mol's performance -- stands out as the real thing.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 21, 2006
Mol is a delight as the saucy brunette, a God-fearing innocent seemingly oblivious to the use of those lascivious pinup photographs for which she so cheerfully posed.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
April 21, 2006
Harron deserves credit. She sees Page not as others might have seen her but as she evidently saw herself.
Read More | Original Score: B-
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
April 21, 2006
Astute -- even frisky -- as it is, Notorious Bettie Page never shakes being enamored of the mystery of Page.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
April 21, 2006
It's a handsome, often funny piece of work with a nearly fatal inability to settle on a tone.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
April 21, 2006
This cheeky movie does not impose heavy-duty meaning on Page's life and times. It just lets us draw our own ambiguous conclusions about what she did. It is the better, the more enticing, for so doing.
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
April 20, 2006
Manages to work as a subtle send-up of '50s film sensibilities and as a tentative study of an earlier sex symbol.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
April 20, 2006
About controlling the means of production; she is her own raw material, and she is not about to let someone else take over.
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Allison Benedikt
Chicago Tribune
April 20, 2006
It does a bang-up job of illuminating why many a contemporary pop icon and, online, a whole new generation of men have taken to Bettie.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
April 20, 2006
The tone of the movie is subdued and reflective. It does not defend pornography, but regards it (in its 1950s incarnation) with subdued nostalgia for a more innocent time.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
April 20, 2006
There are interesting parallels between the hemmed-in culture of America's paranoid postwar years and the enforced restraint and caged sexuality of the fetish photos that flourished at the time, but they go unexplored.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
April 19, 2006
Smugly anti-erotic in the extreme.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
April 17, 2006
[Mol] delivers the best performance of her career.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
April 14, 2006
Bettie Page more closely resembles a TV movie than a probing feature.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
April 14, 2006
Because its interest is in Page as an inadvertent erotic icon, Harron's movie plays more like a gentle conceptual satire on all-American 1950s hypocrisy than an attempt to probe the person herself.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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April 14, 2006
No moral, little plot, a lead character deliberately left unknowable.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
April 14, 2006
The Notorious Bettie Page is about the mundane but living humanity behind the pictures, the regular person behind a decade's fantasies.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
April 14, 2006
Harron and her co-screenwriter Guinevere Turner chart Page's ascension as reigning diva of decadence with the sort of historic expansiveness usually reserved for dead presidents and Nobel winners.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
April 14, 2006
The movie never seems to make up its mind but, far worse, it never quite gets inside Betty's.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
April 14, 2006
Page [is] played as if on a mission by Gretchen Mol.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
April 13, 2006
The new film captures the look of the period and, in star Gretchen Mol, has an actress who capably counterfeits Page's exuberance. What it doesn't have is a reason for being.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
April 13, 2006
Mary Harron's exuberant biographical film stars Gretchen Mol as the 1950's pinup queen Bettie Page.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
April 13, 2006
Gretchen Mol is unrelentingly charming in the role and she almost -- almost -- makes you believe that someone as unclouded as this could actually exist.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
April 13, 2006
Mol's portrayal of Bettie Page is likely to at last earn her the recognition she deserves.
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
April 13, 2006
The Notorious Bettie Page's arid fixation on period over character comes at a price.
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Keith Phipps
AV Club
April 13, 2006
Turner and Harron load Notorious with the details of '50s-shutterbug and nude-modeling culture and surround Mol with a talented supporting cast, but otherwise let Mol's faded smiles and enigmatic glances suggest what's going on inside
Read More | Original Score: B
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
April 12, 2006
A delightful movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
April 12, 2006
Like Bettie herself, the movie is wholesome and sexy at the same time. I liked it immensely.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
April 12, 2006
A comedy of high freakishness that invites us to climb deep into the mystique of Bettie Page's image, her phenomenon.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
April 11, 2006
There's no snake in Bettie's Eden and no narrative to Harron's movie.
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David Denby
New Yorker
April 10, 2006
There's a problem with Harron's approach: it leaches all the danger out of the subject. In this movie, there isn't any genuine power in erotic imagery or any menace in perversion.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
April 4, 2006
[Mol] delivers the first performance by an actress this year that deserves serious Oscar consideration.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
March 10, 2006
The movie's exploration of its supposedly sleazy milieu from a distinctively female point of view is invigorating, and the recreations of the period ... are a retro-kick.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
January 25, 2006
The key moments in Page's life have been perfunctorily checked-off and assembled into cut-and-paste scenes at the expense of developed characters and any real sense of motivation.
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Jim Emerson
RogerEbert.com
October 7, 2005
A delightful celebration of the 'Pin-Up Queen of the Universe,' as well as a delicious appreciation of the texture and flavor of images from the 1950s.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 20, 2005
A superficial look at the '50s sex icon, pic feels like it was researched via press clippings rather than attempting a fresh rethinking of its era and provocative subject.