Parents' Guide to

Rules Don't Apply

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Entertaining but uneven Hollywood drama has serious themes.

Movie PG-13 2016 126 minutes
Rules Don't Apply Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

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