Rules Don’t Apply Parent Guide
With a strong cast and script inspired by a mysterious figure, expectations for this production are high. Unfortunately, the potential is never realized.
Parent Movie Review
Life is full of rules – some written, others just understood. And each of the characters in this 1950s-era film comes with their own set of them. Except perhaps Howard Hughes (a real person played in this fictional story by Warren Beatty), who is a law unto himself.
Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) is an aspiring song writer and beauty contest winner. She comes to Hollywood at the invitation of the wealthy Hughes to sign a contract promising her the lead role in an upcoming movie. Her mother (Annette Bening) follows along as a sort of chaperone to keep her religious and virtuous daughter on the straight and narrow while navigating the sinful terrain of Tinsel Town.
Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) works for Hughes as well – as a driver. His moral upbringing, commitment to his long-time fiancée (Taissa Farmiga) and willingness to obey the strict conditions of his employment (including never engaging in personal relationships with the pretty females he chauffeurs) keep him loyal to his boss despite his private ambitions to get into the real estate business.
It is not long after Frank is assigned to Marla that a feeling of mutual attraction blooms. As the pair are drawn more closely into the chaotic world of the eccentric billionaire, each of them starts to toy with the idea of being an exception to the rules. (Howard Hughes has believed that of himself all along.) Bit by bit they move away from the constraints that have previously defined their lives. And whether they realize it or not, the unavoidable consequences of their choices begin to creep into their happiness and dreams of the future. (Oddly, it never feels like the screenwriters acknowledge the connection between actions and outcomes either.)
With a strong cast (which also includes Matthew Broderick, Martin Sheen and Candice Bergen) and a script inspired by a mysterious figure, expectations for this production are high. Unfortunately, the potential is never realized. Rather it is tedious watching the magnetism of money, fame and pride erode Marla’s moral values, Frank self-confidence and Howard’s mind. (The latter’s demise is attributable to a cocaine addiction and growing paranoia too.)
Plodding through foul language, scenes of implied sexuality, constant smoking and drinking, along with depictions of dangerous flying, viewers are unlikely to notice the rather nice set design, cinematography and vintage cars. Instead the most memorable thing about the film is that it broke the most binding rule of all: The audience must care about the characters.Directed by Warren Beatty. Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Lily Collins, Warren Beatty. Running time: 127 minutes. Theatrical release November 23, 2016. Updated July 17, 2017
Rules Don’t Apply
Rating & Content Info
Why is Rules Don’t Apply rated PG-13? Rules Don’t Apply is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual material including brief strong language, thematic elements, and drug references.
Violence: Characters hit things when angry. Blood effects are used on actors. A man recklessly flies airplanes, endangering the lives of those on board. Angry verbal outbursts occur. A man receives major injuries after a plane crash (some blood shown). A character seeking an abortion is counselled to go to a different state where the practice is legal. Breach of contract and other illegal/unethical business practices are alluded to. Property damage from an earthquake is briefly shown.
Sexual Content: Sexuality and virginity are discussed. Characters flirt and try to seduce women. Sexual relations between unmarried couples are discussed and implied. A character fumbles to remove her clothes while passionately kissing a man – sexual relations are assumed to have taken place when the man is later seen with his trousers down. A passionate kiss results in a wet stain on a man’s pants. Sexual references and innuendo are frequent. Characters embrace, kiss and fondle. Venereal disease and birth control pills are talked about. Unwed pregnancy and abortion are discussed. A woman in lingerie seductively coxes a man into bed.
Profanity: Moderate and mild profanity is used. Slang terms for prostitutes and sex are heard. Religious terms used as expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters drink alcohol and smoke throughout this period film. Characters drink to excess and then make poor decisions. A character is accused of having an addiction to cocaine.
Other: Christian worship is depicted. Characters face a crisis of faith.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for Rules Don’t Apply after the break...
Rules Don’t Apply Parents' Guide
Is it possible to be an exception to the rules? What risks might accompany that belief? What kinds of laws come with unavoidable consequences? How can rules be a protection instead of a constraint?
The characters in this movie abandon their personal commitments and lose their desire to follow rules. What do you think motivates this change in Marla? Frank? Howard Hughes? Even though they think they are an exception, do the rules still apply to them?
How can fame and fortune, or the lure of recognition and wealth, influence a person’s choices? Are they the answer to all of life’s problems, or the cause? Is it possible to balance ambitions?
Learn more about the real Howard Hughes.
News About "Rules Don’t Apply"
From the Studio: An aspiring young actress (Lily Collins) and her ambitious young driver (Alden Ehrenreich) struggle hopefully with the absurd eccentricities of the wildly unpredictable billionaire (Warren Beatty) whom they work for. It's Hollywood, 1958. Small town beauty queen and devout Baptist virgin Marla Mabrey (Collins), under contract to the infamous Howard Hughes (Beatty), arrives in Los Angeles. At the airport, she meets her driver Frank Forbes (Ehrenreich), who is engaged to be married to his 7th grade sweetheart and is a deeply religious Methodist. Their instant attraction not only puts their religious convictions to the test, but also defies Hughes' #1 rule: no employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress. Hughes' behavior intersects with Marla and Frank in very separate and unexpected ways, and as they are drawn deeper into his bizarre world, their values are challenged and their lives are changed. Written by 20th Century Fox
The most recent home video release of Rules Don’t Apply movie is February 28, 2017. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Rules Don’t Apply
Release Date: 28 February 2017
Rules Don’t Apply releases on home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) with the following special features:
- This is Rules Don’t Apply - Featurette
- Music Video: “The Rules Don’t Apply” performed by Lily Collins