Parents' Guide to

The Rules of Attraction

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Not for kids, and not for many adults, either.

Movie R 2002 110 minutes
The Rules of Attraction Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+

Rehashed "Ho-Hum" from Bret Easton Elis

age 14+

Not bad

So let me get this straight Sex scenes/situations are very explicit and there by this is off limits from persons aged 14 Suicide scene is graphic and disturbing, other violence (slashing with the machete), punching and other stuff is considered moderate. Drug use is moderate, but graphic girl is also raped. So choose wisely before you think 14 year old can handle this

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (4 ):

Roger Avary has done a good job of adapting Ellis' multi-perspective narrative into a slick, visually dynamic movie. Ellis' books have all dealt with similar 1980's themes from different perspectives and have woven in references to characters from his other works. For example, Rules of Attraction protagonist, Sean Bateman, is younger brother to American Psycho's Patrick Bateman. Avary's backward-forward filming and present-past-present timing gradually reveal the story, but he cannot put content into what is, in the end, an empty tale.

Although the movie is set in the present day, the strong influence of the book and Avary's decision to weave in references to Ellis' other books keeps a '80's zeitgeist. The times having changed so dramatically over the years: the end of the Cold War; the flannel-clad nihilism descending from the Seattle scene; the disappearance of the rich, white boy as the movie bad guy; the return of heroin. But perhaps, most importantly, the world did not end.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: October 11, 2002
  • On DVD or streaming: February 18, 2003
  • Cast: James Van Der Beek , Jessica Biel , Shannyn Sossamon
  • Director: Roger Avary
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, drug use, language and violent images
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

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