Netflix’s Brazen: an Underwhelming Thriller



Brazen, Netflix’s new romance-thriller, stars actors Alyssa Milano and Samuel Page as the main characters Grace and Ed.

Netflix’s new romance-thriller movie Brazen premiered on January 13th of this year. The movie is based on “Brazen Virtue” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts, but received lackluster reviews in comparison to the novel, with a 4/10 score by IMDb and 14% audience score from Rotten Tomatoes. 

While the movie is advertised as a romance-thriller, it doesn’t live up to that standard. The plot has a good though generic premise, following a repeated trope of a murder mystery where the victim lived a “double life” as a camgirl. The main character, Grace, is the victim’s sister, a mystery writer who forces herself into the investigation of her sister’s murder.

An effort is made to place red herrings as possible suspects, but it quickly becomes obvious who the murderer is, as he’s the only one given sufficient screentime and development. The writers fail to properly develop the side characters, which adds to how predictable the plot is. None of the evidence compiled against the other suspect made sense, and when new information was brought to light, I was just confused as to why it wouldn’t incriminate the other person, who was obviously the real killer. For a murder mystery, there were too many illogical actions that characters had to take in order to satisfy the conditions of the plot.

While that was subpar, the actors gave commendable performances. There was decent chemistry between Grace and Ed, her love interest, and while their scenes weren’t particularly moving, the actors did the best given the script they could (within the context of each scene). That said, I do think that the script should’ve been looked over more. One scene that was particularly bothersome was when Ed told Grace that she would meet her sister soon, right after Grace found out about her death. There were many comments throughout the movie that threw me off like this, and I spent more time pondering what these comments were supposed to mean, instead of being invested in the movie.

Another issue I have with the movie, that I’ve mentioned before, is the movie’s portrayal of sex work. As an author who describes herself as someone who writes empowering novels for women, Grace is meant to embody a feminist icon who does exactly that. However, she never contributed anything to the conversation, and throughout the movie, she consistently fails to deliver on producing the change she said she does. Even when exposed to the dangers of sex work that are practically the driving force of the movie, Grace learns nothing, does nothing, and ultimately, achieves nothing. Just using it as an edgy, plot device of solving the murder of a “dead hooker” as described in the film plays into the same narrative of sex work that has run rampant in Hollywood, failing to contribute to a productive conversation about the reality of sex work and the problems within in the industry. 

Brazen fails to deliver, and is about as thrilling as a slice-of-life show would be. The premise, while outdated and generic, was promising, and could’ve been developed into a truly good movie. However, lackluster writing and character development made the plot too predictable, and each plot twist served no point but to make the movie longer. Overall, if you’re looking to distract yourself for one and a half hours, there are better ways to go about it.