The Notorious Bettie Page

Rated 4.0

Gretchen Mol plays the famous pinup model, from her college years in Tennessee through her 1950s heyday, when some of her naughty-girl bondage photos (which look awfully tame today) became the focus of Senator Estes Kefauver’s investigations into the pornography industry. Director Mary Harron (who co-wrote the script with Guinevere Turner) sketches Bettie’s life and times in quick, broad strokes, capturing the relative innocence of the “nasty” pictures of those days without being snide or patronizing; the movie is lightheartedly thoughtful. Mol (whose career has unfairly languished because of her striking resemblance to Charlize Theron) gives a real breakthrough performance, and Mott Hupfel’s photography, a mix of smoky black-and-white and sunny Kodachrome-like color, is a constant visual treat.