A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Dreams have a way of being deferred, but you can't let them get away from you. Also, integrity -- i.e. staying true to who you are -- is often the best course.
Positive Role Models
Marla and Frank may not always know who they are and what matters most to them, but they want to figure these things out, which makes a difference. Also, they're kind and generous and have a strong sense of direction and authenticity.
Violence & Scariness
Undercurrent of menace in the way women are treated, and how Howard Hughes lords what he wants, needs, and demands over his employees. (Hughes is mentally ill, which the film tries to address this care, but his behavior is still disturbing.) A pilot pushes his flying to dangerous extremes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of talk of sex, but only one scene is sexual; it shows a woman, still clothed but on her way to undressing, straddling a man. Kissing, sometimes passionately. The subject of premature ejaculation comes up.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
One use each of "f--k," and "s--t," as well as "hell," "bitch," "goddamn," and several slang terms for sex and genitals (such as "gone all the way," "salami," "muffin").
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mention of codeine and allusions to a character overusing it. Frequent social drinking. In one scene, a character who's normally against drinking gets completely drunk and subsequently has sex -- a decision she might not have made had she not been drunk. Smoking (accurate for the era).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rules Don't Apply is a romantic drama about a young actress (Lily Collins) making her way in 1950s Los Angeles, at a time when Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty, who also wrote and directed the film), already a larger-than-life figure, was on his way to becoming a truly epic mystery. The film, which is both funny and melancholy, mines a number of serious subjects, including sexism, mental illness, paternity, sexual frustrations, and politics. While swearing is minimal, there is a use each of "f--k" and "s--t," as well "hell," "damn," "bitch," and other swear words. There's also a fair bit of sexual content, including passionate kissing, lots of talk about sex, a reference to premature ejaculation, and a scene in which a woman straddles a man. Characters also smoke and drink -- in one notable case, very much to excess. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This romantic drama isn't a perfect movie, but somehow, like a charming suitor whose quirks aren't easy to overlook, it winds up endearing itself to you anyway. For starters, there's the cast: Ehrenreich, who was the heart and soul of the Coen brothers' Hail Caesar! (also a movie set in old-school Hollywood), is an actor of great subtlety and appeal. He and Collins share a sweet chemistry that serves Rules Don't Apply well. Co-star Matthew Broderick is in top form as another Hughes driver who bristles under the millionaire's oddities, and Bening can't make a wrong move onscreen. But it's Beatty who holds the camera's gaze (which, it must be said, he keeps it a little too softly and gauzily lit) with his presence.
In addition to starring, Beatty also wrote and directed the film, which both an homage to and an indictment of 1950s Hollywood repression. Though that makes for a bewitching stew, it's also a messy one: The romance at the center of Rules Don't Apply is sometimes overwhelmed by the "big ideas" backdrop of Hollywood history, meandering into big business and politics. That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, had the themes been knit together more elegantly. And though the large cast gives the film a rollicking, ensemble-movie feel, it can also feel overcrowded and distracting. Still, Rules Don't Apply shoots an arrow straight to the heart -- how it does so may be a case of rules (of perfect filmmaking) not applying here.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.