The Notorious Bettie Page

Rated NR

Gretchen Mol evinces an almost extraterrestrial otherworldliness in this Mary Harron take on life as a bondage model in the not-so-swinging mid-century. Very neatly executed, this is an anti-psychological biopic, looking at a seemingly disparate set of circumstances in the external life of a Christian woman who made a living dressing up in latex boots and spanking other ladies on their tender bums. The way this movie neatly avoids interiority in telling the story of a life might be indicative of the cultural shift away from a discredited Freudianism to a yet-to-be-discredited cognitive science model of human behavior. Either way, it’s perfectly conceived and executed, though, of necessity, a little flatter than most films, and thus a little less engaging. But you’ll leave the theater impressed by Harron and Mol’s technical prowess, and by Mol’s other attributes, which are the best proof of the existence of a benevolent God I’ve ever seen.

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